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J Biol Chem. 1991 Jan 5;266(1):449-54.

The 21-kDa protein is a transformation-sensitive metalloproteinase inhibitor of chicken fibroblasts.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0446.


We report the electrophoretic purification and characterization of the 21-kDa protein, an extracellular matrix component synthesized during the early stages of transformation of chicken embryo fibroblasts infected with Rous sarcoma virus (Blenis, J., and Hawkes, S. P. (1983) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 80, 770-774; Blenis, J., and Hawkes, S. P. (1984) J. Biol. Chem. 259, 11563-11570). The NH2-terminal amino acid sequence of the protein is greater than 60% identical to a consensus sequence of mammalian tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP). It shares several biochemical properties with other metalloproteinase inhibitors, including evidence of intrachain disulfide bonds and resistance to cleavage by trypsin. An electrophoretic assay employing a metal ion-dependent gelatinase from conditioned cell culture medium demonstrates inhibitor activity for purified 21-kDa protein. The 21-kDa protein is the major inhibitor in the extracellular matrix and appears unique in solubility properties among inhibitors with a TIMP-like sequence. Statistical analysis of amino acid composition data for these inhibitors defines two distinct groups (TIMP and TIMP-2) and supports a close relationship for the 21-kDa protein with the TIMP group. However, the apparent size and lack of glycosylation align it more closely with the TIMP-2 group of proteins. Therefore, it is possible that the 21-kDa protein is a variant of TIMP or, alternatively, represents a third protein within the metalloproteinase inhibitor family. This report provides the first evidence that avian metalloproteinase inhibitors are similar in sequence to their mammalian counterparts.

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