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Nature. 1997 Feb 20;385(6618):733-6.

Cloning of a disintegrin metalloproteinase that processes precursor tumour-necrosis factor-alpha.

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Department of Molecular Biochemistry, Glaxo Wellcome Research and Development Inc., Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.

Erratum in

  • Nature 1997 Apr 17;386(6626):738.


Tumour-necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is a cytokine that contributes to a variety of inflammatory disease states. The protein exists as a membrane-bound precursor of relative molecular mass 26K which can be processed by a TNF-alpha-converting enzyme (TACE), to generate secreted 17K mature TNF-alpha. We have purified TACE and cloned its complementary DNA. TACE is a membrane-bound disintegrin metalloproteinase. Structural comparisons with other disintegrin-containing enzymes indicate that TACE is unique, with noteable sequence identity to MADM, an enzyme implicated in myelin degradation, and to KUZ, a Drosophila homologue of MADM important for neuronal development. The expression of recombinant TACE (rTACE) results in the production of functional enzyme that correctly processes precursor TNF-alpha to the mature form. The rTACE provides a readily available source of enzyme to help in the search for new anti-inflammatory agents that target the final processing stage of TNF-alpha production.

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