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J Biol Chem. 1994 Jun 17;269(24):16766-73.

Molecular cloning and expression of collagenase-3, a novel human matrix metalloproteinase produced by breast carcinomas.

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Departamento de Biología Funcional and Morfología y Biología Celular, Universidad de Ovideo, Spain.


A cDNA coding for a new human matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) has been cloned from a cDNA library derived from a breast tumor. The isolated cDNA contains an open reading frame coding for a polypeptide of 471 amino acids. The predicted protein sequence displays extensive similarity to the previously known MMPs and presents all the structural features characteristic of the members of this protein family, including the well conserved PRCGXPD motif, involved in the latency of the enzyme and the zinc-binding domain (HEXGHXXXXXHS). In addition, this novel human MMP contains in its amino acid sequence several residues specific to the collagenase subfamily (Tyr-214, Asp-235, and Gly-237) and lacks the 9-residue insertion present in the stromelysins. According to these structural characteristics, the MMP described herein has been tentatively called collagenase-3, since it represents the third member of this subfamily, composed at present of fibroblast and neutrophil collagenases. The collagenase-3 cDNA was expressed in a vaccinia virus system, and the recombinant protein was able to degrade fibrillar collagens, providing support to the hypothesis that the isolated cDNA codes for an authentic collagenase. Northern blot analysis of RNA from normal and pathological tissues demonstrated the existence in breast tumors of three different mRNA species, which seem to be the result of the utilization of different polyadenylation sites present in the 3'-noncoding region of the gene. By contrast, no collagenase-3 mRNA was detected either by Northern blot or RNA polymerase chain reaction analysis with RNA from other human tissues, including normal breast, mammary fibroadenomas, liver, placenta, ovary, uterus, prostate, and parotid gland. On the basis of the increased expression of collagenase-3 in breast carcinomas and the absence of detectable expression in normal tissues, a possible role for this metalloproteinase in the tumoral process is proposed.

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