Emerging roles of MT-MMPs in embryonic development.

Developmental Dynamics : an Official Publication of the American Association of Anatomists
Natalia MorachoCristina Sánchez-Camacho


Membrane-type matrix metalloproteinases (MT-MMPs) are cell membrane-tethered proteinases that belong to the family of the MMPs. Apart from their roles in degradation of the extracellular milieu, MT-MMPs are able to activate through proteolytic processing at the cell surface distinct molecules such as receptors, growth factors, cytokines, adhesion molecules, and other pericellular proteins. Although most of the information regarding these enzymes comes from cancer studies, our current knowledge about their contribution in distinct developmental processes occurring in the embryo is limited. In this review, we want to summarize the involvement of MT-MMPs in distinct processes during embryonic morphogenesis, including cell migration and proliferation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, cell polarity and branching, axon growth and navigation, synapse formation, and angiogenesis. We also considered information about MT-MMP functions from studies assessed in pathological conditions and compared these data with those relevant for embryonic development.


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