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Bioorg Med Chem. 2007 Mar 15;15(6):2223-68. Epub 2007 Jan 17.

Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs): chemical-biological functions and (Q)SARs.

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Department of Chemistry, Pomona College, 645 North College Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711, USA.


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a large family of calcium-dependent zinc-containing endopeptidases, which are responsible for the tissue remodeling and degradation of the extracellular matrix (ECM), including collagens, elastins, gelatin, matrix glycoproteins, and proteoglycan. They are regulated by hormones, growth factors, and cytokines, and are involved in ovarian functions. MMPs are excreted by a variety of connective tissue and pro-inflammatory cells including fibroblasts, osteoblasts, endothelial cells, macrophages, neutrophils, and lymphocytes. These enzymes are expressed as zymogens, which are subsequently processed by other proteolytic enzymes (such as serine proteases, furin, plasmin, and others) to generate the active forms. Matrix metalloproteinases are considered as promising targets for the treatment of cancer due to their strong involvement in malignant pathologies. Clinical/preclinical studies on MMP inhibition in tumor models brought positive results raising the idea that the development of strategies to inhibit MMPs may be proved to be a powerful tool to fight against cancer. However, the presence of an inherent flexibility in the MMP active-site limits dramatically the accurate modeling of MMP-inhibitor complexes. The interest in the application of quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs) has steadily increased in recent decades and we hope it may be useful in elucidating the mechanisms of chemical-biological interactions for this enzyme. In the present review, an attempt has been made to explore the in-depth knowledge from the classification of this enzyme to the clinical trials of their inhibitors. A total number of 92 QSAR models (44 published and 48 new formulated QSAR models) have also been presented to understand the chemical-biological interactions. QSAR results on the inhibition of various compound series against MMP-1, -2, -3, -7, -8, -9, -12, -13, and -14 reveal a number of interesting points. The most important of these are hydrophobicity and molar refractivity, which are the most important determinants of the activity.

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