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J Biol Chem. 2010 May 21;285(21):16076-86. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.107094. Epub 2010 Mar 22.

Biochemical characterization of the cellular glycosylphosphatidylinositol-linked membrane type-6 matrix metalloproteinase.

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Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Ubiquitously expressed membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP), an archetype member of the MMP family, binds tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-2 (TIMP-2), activates matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), and stimulates cell migration in various cell types. In contrast with MT1-MMP, the structurally similar MT6-MMP associates with the lipid raft compartment of the plasma membrane using a GPI anchor. As a result, MT6-MMP is functionally distinct from MT1-MMP. MT6-MMP is insufficiently characterized as yet. In addition, a number of its biochemical features are both conflicting and controversial. To reassess the biochemical features of MT6-MMP, we have expressed the MT6-MMP construct tagged with a FLAG tag in breast carcinoma MCF-7 and fibrosarcoma HT1080 cells. We then used phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C to release MT6-MMP from the cell surface and characterized the solubilized MT6-MMP fractions. We now are confident that cellular MT6-MMP partially exists in its complex with TIMP-2. Both TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 are capable of inhibiting the proteolytic activity of MT6-MMP. MT6-MMP does not stimulate cell migration. MT6-MMP, however, generates a significant level of gelatinolysis of the fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled gelatin and exhibits an intrinsic, albeit low, ability to activate MMP-2. As a result, it is exceedingly difficult to record the activation of MMP-2 by cellular MT6-MMP. Because of its lipid raft localization, cellular MT6-MMP is inefficiently internalized. MT6-MMP is predominantly localized in the cell-to-cell junctions. Because MT6-MMP has been suggested to play a role in disease, including cancer and autoimmune multiple sclerosis, the identity of its physiologically relevant cleavage targets remains to be determined.

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