Evidence for a cooperative role of gelatinase A and membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase during Xenopus laevis development.Mech Dev 2007; 124(1):11-22MD
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a large family of extracellular or membrane-bound proteases. Their ability to cleave extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins has implicated a role in ECM remodeling to affect cell fate and behavior during development and in pathogenesis. We have shown previously that membrane-type 1 (MT1)-MMP [corrected] is coexpressed temporally and spatially with the MMP gelatinase A (GelA) in all cell types of the intestine and tail where GelA is expressed during Xenopus laevis metamorphosis, suggesting a cooperative role of these MMPs in development. Here, we show that Xenopus GelA and MT1-MMP interact with each other in vivo and that overexpression of MT1-MMP and GelA together in Xenopus embryos leads to the activation of pro-GelA. We further show that both MMPs are expressed during Xenopus embryogenesis, although MT1-MMP gene is expressed earlier than the GelA gene. To investigate whether the embryonic MMPs play a role in development, we have studied whether precocious expression of these MMPs alters development. Our results show that overexpression of both MMPs causes developmental abnormalities and embryonic death by a mechanism that requires the catalytic activity of the MMPs. More importantly, we show that coexpression of wild type MT1-MMP and GelA leads to a cooperative effect on embryonic development and that this cooperative effect is abolished when the catalytic activity of either MMP is eliminated through a point mutation in the catalytic domain. Thus, our studies support a cooperative role of these MMPs in embryonic development, likely through the activation of pro-GelA by MT1-MMP.