Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their endogenous inhibitors TIMPs (tissue inhibitors of MMPs), are two protein families that work together to remodel the extracellular matrix (ECM). TIMPs serve not only to inhibit MMP activity, but also aid in the activation of MMPs that are secreted as inactive zymogens. Xenopus laevis metamorphosis is an ideal model for studying MMP and TIMP expression levels because all tissues are remodeled under the control of one molecule, thyroid hormone. Here, using RT-PCR analysis, we examine the metamorphic RNA levels of two membrane-type MMPs (MT1-MMP, MT3-MMP), two TIMPs (TIMP-2, TIMP-3) and a potent gelatinase (Gel-A) that can be activated by the combinatory activity of a MT-MMP and a TIMP. In the metamorphic tail and intestine the RNA levels of TIMP-2 and MT1-MMP mirror each other, and closely resemble that of Gel- A as all three are elevated during periods of cell death and proliferation. Conversely, MT3-MMP and TIMP-3 do not have similar RNA level patterns nor do they mimic the RNA levels of the other genes examined. Intriguingly, TIMP-3, which has been shown to have anti-apoptotic activity, is found at low levels in tissues during periods of apoptosis.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sashko-damjanovski/7/