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Dimerization of endogenous MT1-MMP is a regulatory step in the activation of the 72 kDa gelatinase, MMP-2, on fibroblasts and fibrosarcoma cells

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Matrix metalloproteases (MMPs) are centrally engaged in the processes of extracellular matrix turnover that occur during cancer invasion. An important MMP cascade reaction is initiated by the membrane-anchored matrix metalloprotease, MT1-MMP, which serves to activate the proenzyme form of the secreted gelatinase, matrix metalloprotease-2 (MMP-2). This reaction occurs in an interplay with the matrix metalloprotease inhibitor, TIMP-2, and the proposed mechanism involves two molecules of MT1-MMP in complex with one TIMP-2 molecule. To study this, as well as other roles of MT1-MMP, we have now raised a panel of monoclonal antibodies against the protein. These antibodies have been raised in MT1-MMP knock-out mice and react against conserved epitopes in murine and human MT1-MMP. Using one of these antibodies we provide positive evidence that proMMP-2 activation is governed by dimerization of MT1-MMP on the surface of fibroblasts and fibrosarcoma cells. The antibody in question binds specifically to MT1-MMP on the cell surface, as shown by immunofluorescence experiments. It is directed against the hemopexin domain of MT1-MMP and has no effect on the catalytic activity of the protease domain. The antibody induces dimerization of the endogenous MT1-MMP on the cell surface. Through this reaction, it markedly stimulates the formation of the 62 kDa active MMP-2 and the processing into a 59 kDa product that retains gelatinolytic activity. This effect is indeed a consequence of MT1-MMP dimerization because it requires the divalent monoclonal antibody with no effect being obtained with monovalent Fab fragments. Since only a negligible level of proMMP-2 activation is obtained with MT1-MMP expressing cells in the absence of dimerization, our results identify the dimerization event as a critical level of proteolytic cascade regulation.
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Document Type: Abstract

Affiliations: 1: Finsenlaboratoriet, Rigshospitalet, Ole Maaløes Vej 5, 2200 København N, Danmark 2: Oral & Pharyngeal Cancer Branch, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, 30 Convent Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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