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Eur J Biochem. 1999 Jun;262(3):907-14.

Characterization of a truncated recombinant form of human membrane type 3 matrix metalloproteinase.

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Department of Molecular Immunology and Pathology, Cancer Research Institute, Kanazawa University, Japan.


Membrane type 3 matrix metalloproteinase (MT3-MMP), an activator for the zymogen of MMP-2 (proMMP-2, or progelatinase A), is known to be expressed in human placenta, brain, lung and rat vascular smooth muscle cells, but information about its biochemical properties is limited. In the present study, we expressed and purified a truncated form of MT3-MMP lacking the transmembrane and intracytoplasmic domain (DeltaMT3) and characterized the enzyme biochemically. DeltaMT3 digested type III collagen into characteristic 3/4- and 1/4-fragments by cleaving the Gly781-Ile782 and Gly784-Ile785 bonds of alpha1(III) chains. Although DeltaMT3 did not have such an activity against type I collagen, it attacked the Gly4-Ile5 bond of the triple helical portion of alpha2(I) chains, leading to removal of the crosslink containing N-terminal telopeptides. By quantitative analyses of the activities of DeltaMT3 and a similar deletion mutant of MT1-MMP (DeltaMT1), DeltaMT3 was approximately fivefold more efficient at cleaving type III collagen. DeltaMT3 also digested cartilage proteoglycan, gelatin, fibronectin, vitronectin, laminin-1, alpha1-proteinase inhibitor and alpha2-macroglobulin into almost identical fragments to those given by DeltaMT1, although carboxymethylated transferrin digestion by DeltaMT3 generated some extra fragments. The activity of DeltaMT3 was inhibited by tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-2 (TIMP-2) and TIMP-3 in a 1 : 1 stoichiometry, but not by TIMP-1. ProMMP-2 was partially activated by DeltaMT3 to give the intermediate form. These results indicate that, like MT1-MMP, MT3-MMP exhibits proteolytic activities against a wide range of extracellular matrix molecules. However, differences in the proMMP-2 activation and tissue distribution suggest that MT3-MMP and MT1-MMP play different roles in the pathophysiological digestion of extracellular matrix.

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