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J Cell Sci. 1993 Dec;106 ( Pt 4):1071-82.

(Pro)collagenase (matrix metalloproteinase-1) is present in rodent osteoclasts and in the underlying bone-resorbing compartment.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Chimie Physiologique (Connective Tissue Group), Université de Louvain, Bruxelles, Belgium.


Osteoclasts resorb the extracellular matrix of bone by secreting enzymes and acid into a sealed-off compartment that they form upon attachment to the bone surface. Although the lysosomal cysteine proteinases can degrade collagen after the demineralization of bone at low pH, several lines of evidence suggest that collagenase (matrix metalloproteinase-1, EC may also be involved in this process. The question of whether collagenase is present in the osteoclast and/or in the bone-resorbing compartment has however not been resolved. We have prepared an anti-mouse collagenase antiserum and affinity-purified an IgG fraction that specifically immunoblots and immunoprecipitates (pro)collagenase. Using these antibodies, we demonstrate by immunolocalization the presence of (pro)collagenase both in the osteoclasts and in the extracellular subosteoclastic bone-resorbing compartment. These specific localizations were observed not only in mice but also in rat and rabbit osteoclasts and using not only the antibody we have prepared but also antibodies raised in other laboratories against rat (Jeffrey et al., J. Cell. Physiol. 143, 396-403, 1990) and rabbit (Brinckerhoff et al., J. Biol. Chem. 265, 22262-22269, 1990) collagenase. Intracellular collagenase was observed in the osteoclasts whether the cells were plated on bone or cultured on glass coverslips. It is proposed that osteoclastic collagenase is secreted in the resorbing compartment where it may cooperate with the lysosomal cysteine proteinases in the degradation of the collagen component of the matrix during the resorption of bone.

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