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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Transforming growth factor-β1 blocks the enhancement of tumor necrosis factor cytotoxicity by hyaluronidase Hyal-2 in L929 fibroblasts

Nan-Shan Chang

Author Affiliations

Guthrie Research Institute, Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, Guthrie Medical Center, 1 Guthrie Square, Sayre, Pennsylvania, 18840, USA

BMC Cell Biology 2002, 3:8  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-3-8

Published: 3 April 2002



Functional antagonism between transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) and hyaluronidase has been demonstrated. For example, testicular hyaluronidase PH-20 counteracts TGF-β1-mediated growth inhibition of epithelial cells. PH-20 sensitizes various cancer cells to tumor necrosis factor (TNF) cytotoxicity by upregulating proapoptotic p53 and WW domain-containing oxidoreductase (WOX1). TGF-β1 blocks PH-20-increased TNF cytotoxicity. In the present study, the functional antagonism between TGF-β1 and lysosomal hyaluronidases Hyal-1 and Hyal-2 was examined.


Murine L929 fibroblasts were engineered to stably express green-fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged hyaluronidase (GFP-Hyal-1 or GFP-Hyal-2) or GFP alone. Compared to control cells, Hyal-2-expressing cells had a significantly increased sensitivity to TNF cytotoxicity (~60–110% increase), while Hyal-1-expressing cells were less sensitive to TNF (~20–90% increase). TNF activated NF-κB, along with IκBα degradation, occurred at 20 to 60 min in Hyal-2 cells post stimulation, but at the 20 min time point in both control and Hyal-1 cells. Hyal-2 cells, but not Hyal-1 and control cells, constitutively expressed WOX1, and transiently expressed Hyal-2 enhanced WOX1-mediated cell death. Unlike PH-20, Hyal-1 and Hyal-2 did not induce p53 expression. Hyal-2 translocated from the lysosome to the mitochondria during staurosporine-mediated apoptosis, suggesting that Hyal-2 may damage mitochondria. Finally, Hyal-1 and Hyal-2 blocked TGF-β1-enhanced L929 cell growth. In contrast, TGF-β1 inhibited Hyal-1- and Hyal-2-increased TNF cytotoxicity in L929 cells by 30–50%.


TGF-β1 limits the ability of Hyal-2 to induce TNF cytotoxicity in L929 cells. Hyal-2-increased TNF cytotoxicity in L929 cells appears to be correlated with upregulation of WOX1, a prolonged NF-κB activation, and Hyal-2 translocation to the mitochondria during apoptosis.