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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2001 Oct;13(5):534-40.

Matrix metalloproteinases: they're not just for matrix anymore!

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  • 1Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 771 PRB, 23rd and Pierce, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-6840, USA.


The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been viewed as bulldozers, destroying the extracellular matrix to permit normal remodeling and contribute to pathological tissue destruction and tumor cell invasion. More recently, the identification of specific matrix and non-matrix substrates for MMPs and the elucidation of the biological consequence of cleavage indicates that perhaps MMPs should be viewed more as pruning shears, playing sophisticated roles in modulating normal cellular behavior, cell-cell communication and tumor progression.

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