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Cell. 2009 Apr 17;137(2):332-43. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.02.018.

Platelet matrix metalloprotease-1 mediates thrombogenesis by activating PAR1 at a cryptic ligand site.

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Department of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Molecular Oncology Research Institute, Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


Matrix metalloproteases (MMPs) play important roles in normal and pathological remodeling processes including atherothrombotic disease, inflammation, angiogenesis, and cancer. MMPs have been viewed as matrix-degrading enzymes, but recent studies have shown that they possess direct signaling capabilities. Platelets harbor several MMPs that modulate hemostatic function and platelet survival; however their mode of action remains unknown. We show that platelet MMP-1 activates protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR1) on the surface of platelets. Exposure of platelets to fibrillar collagen converts the surface-bound proMMP-1 zymogen to active MMP-1, which promotes aggregation through PAR1. Unexpectedly, MMP-1 cleaves PAR1 at a distinct site that strongly activates Rho-GTP pathways, cell shape change and motility, and MAPK signaling. Blockade of MMP1-PAR1 curtails thrombogenesis under arterial flow conditions and inhibits thrombosis in animals. These studies provide a link between matrix-dependent activation of metalloproteases and platelet-G protein signaling and identify MMP1-PAR1 as a potential target for the prevention of arterial thrombosis.

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