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J Bone Miner Res. 1998 Dec;13(12):1890-902.

Hydroxyapatite induces autolytic degradation and inactivation of matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -3.

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Division of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri 64110, USA.


In the course of studies to identify a protease capable of producing a long-lived 50 kDa fragment of bone acidic glycoprotein-75 (BAG-75), it was observed that incubation of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3 (stromelysin 1) with preparations of BAG-75 led to inactivation of proteolytic function, e.g., an inability to fragment 125I-labeled BAG-75 added subsequently. MMP-1 (interstitial collagenase) was also inactivated by exposure to BAG-75 preparations. Investigation of the mechanism revealed that BAG-75 preparations contained millimolar levels of inorganic phosphate which formed hydroxyapatite crystals under digestion conditions. Hydroxyapatite crystals alone and in BAG-75-hydroxyapatite complexes induced the autolytic degradation of both active and precursor forms of MMP-1 and MMP-3. Autolytic degradation in the presence of hydroxyapatite was demonstrated by a loss in catalytic function assayed with peptide and/or protein substrates, and, by fragmentation into polypeptides of <10 kDa. The fate of MMP-3 incubated with hydroxyapatite depends upon the time of incubation, the free calcium concentration, and the concentration of crystals. Specifically, hydroxyapatite-induced autolysis requires a near physiological free calcium concentration of 0.5-1.0 mM. Autolysis was maximal in the presence of 150 microg/ml hydroxyapatite where MMP-3 was only partially bound to crystals. However, autolysis also occurred at higher crystal concentrations where all input MMP-3 was bound (>1000 microg/ml), suggesting that autolysis may be mediated by bound enzyme. The effect of hydroxyapatite appears to be specific for MMP-1 and MMP-3 since the catalytic activity of chymotrypsin, trypsin, papain, and thermolysin remained unchanged after exposure to hydroxyapatite. These results document for the first time a novel catalytic role for hydroxyapatite crystals in vitro and provide an initial biochemical characterization of the intermolecular, autolytic, calcium ion-dependent, matrix metalloproteinase-specific degradative mechanism.

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