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Mol Cancer. 2008 Nov 21;7:85. doi: 10.1186/1476-4598-7-85.

Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-4. The road less traveled.

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Instituto Nacional de Medicina Genomica, Mexico.


Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) regulate diverse processes, including extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling, and growth factors and their receptors' activities through the inhibition of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Recent evidence has shown that this family of four members (TIMP-1 to TIMP-4) can also control other important processes, such as proliferation and apoptosis, by a mechanism independent of their MMP inhibitory actions. Of these inhibitors, the most recently identified and least studied is TIMP-4. Initially cloned in human and, later, in mouse, TIMP-4 expression is restricted to heart, kidney, pancreas, colon, testes, brain and adipose tissue. This restricted expression suggests specific and different physiological functions. The present review summarizes the information available for this protein and also provides a putative structural model in order to propose potential relevant directions toward solving its function and role in diseases such as cancer.

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