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Gelatinase A, also called matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2), belongs to the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family. MMP-2 cleaves type IV collagen, denatured collagen (gelatin), and other extracellular matrix (ECM) components. MMP-2 has been reported to be involved in a number of biological and pathological processes, but previous studies have not indicated that its expression is essential for early embryogenesis. In the current study, we have utilized zebrafish as a developmental model to study the role of MMP-2 during embryogenesis. We have successfully isolated a zebrafish MMP-2 (zMMP-2) homologue showing over 80% identity and over 90% similarity to its human counterpart. In situ analysis showed that zMMP-2 was expressed as early as the one-cell stage implying a maternal origin during oogenesis, and embryos continued to express zMMP-2 through at least the 72-h stage of development. RT-PCR analysis confirmed the in situ expression pattern and gelatin zymography indicated that a metalloproteinase with the same gel mobility as vertebrate MMP-2 was present in zebrafish embryos. Injection of zMMP-2 antisense morpholino oligonucleotides into 1- to 4-cell embryos resulted in a truncated axis, monitored through 72 h of development indicating that this metalloproteinase plays an important role in zebrafish embryogenesis. Monpholino-induced alterations in development began to be observed at 12 h of embryogenesis based on morphological and axis marker studies. The results obtained in zebrafish are in contrast to murine knockout studies that indicate that MMP-2 does not have a major role in mouse embryogenesis.

Original publication




Journal article


Dev Genes Evol

Publication Date





456 - 463


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Embryo, Nonmammalian, Matrix Metalloproteinase 2, Molecular Sequence Data, RNA, Messenger, Zebrafish