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Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) play important roles in the turnover of components of extracellular matrix (ECM) and in the processing of active and latent-signaling molecules bound to the ECM or associated with the cell surface. Through such actions, MMPs regulate a variety of cellular and developmental processes. Membrane-type matrix metalloproteinases (MT-MMPs) are of particular importance because they function in the immediate pericellular environment that modulates both cell-cell and cell-ECM interactions. In this study, we utilized zebrafish as a developmental model to study the role of MT-MMPs during early embryogenesis. We successfully isolated two isoforms of a MT-MMP homologue that are structurally similar to MT1-MMP. They have been named zebrafish MT-MMPalpha and beta. Zebrafish MT-MMPbeta is unique among vertebrate MT-MMPs in that it contains an Arg-Glu-Asp (RED) multiple-repeat motif in its linker region. Whole mount in situ analysis, RT-PCR, immunofluorescence, reporter analysis, Western blot analysis, and zymography indicated that MT-MMPalpha and beta were expressed through at least the first 72 h of development and that this expression was targeted to the cell surface. Functional studies using injection of either mRNA or morpholino antisense oligonucleotides resulted in a truncation of the cranial to caudal axis as monitored through 72 h post fertilization, indicating that zebrafish MT-MMPalpha and beta had an important role in embryonic development. Axis markers indicated that these effects likely involved processes occurring later than 10 h of embryogenesis.

Original publication




Journal article


Matrix Biol

Publication Date





279 - 293


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Base Sequence, Cell Membrane, DNA, Complementary, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic, Genes, Reporter, Humans, In Situ Hybridization, Isoenzymes, Matrix Metalloproteinases, Membrane-Associated, Metalloendopeptidases, Molecular Sequence Data, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid, Species Specificity, Zebrafish