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Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2009 May 9;7:41. doi: 10.1186/1477-7827-7-41.

Mechanisms of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (mmp-2) transcriptional repression by progesterone in jar choriocarcinoma cells.

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Laboratory for Research in Reproductive Sciences, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, HaEmek Medical Centre, Afula, Israel.



Although the MMP-2 promoter lacks a canonical progesterone response element (PRE), the hormone inhibits MMP-2 expression and is part of treatment protocols in gynecological invasive pathologies, including endometriosis and endometrial hyperplasia. This study aimed to explore the mechanism by which progesterone inhibits MMP-2 expression.


The effect of progesterone on MMP-2 expression in the JAR human choriocarcinoma cell line was analyzed by gelatin zymography. MMP-2 transcript expression was studied using Northern blot and semi-quantitative RT-PCR. Rat promoter deletion analysis, electrophoretic mobility shift and chromatin immuno-precipitation assays were performed in order to locate the DNA binding site and the transcription factors involved in MMP-2 regulation.


Progesterone significantly decreased secretion of pro-MMP-2 and MMP-2 transcript expression level in a dose-dependent manner. Progesterone (1 microM) significantly decreased both human and rat MMP-2 promoter activity (80.1% +/- 0.3 and 81.3% +/- 0.23, respectively). Progesterone acts through the SP1 family transcription factors-binding site, located between -1433 and -1342 bp region from the transcriptional start site of the rat MMP-2 promoter, which are present in the orthologous human MMP-2 promoter. Progesterone receptor (PR), SP2, SP3 and SP4 proteins are constitutively bound to this consensus sequence.


Progesterone reduces PR and SP4 binding to the MMP-2 promoter, thereby suppressing transcription. Progesterone also promotes SP4 degradation. These novel mechanisms of MMP-2 regulation by progesterone provide the biological rationale for the use of progesterone in clinical settings associated with increased MMP-2 expression.

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