Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) constitute a family of zinc endopeptidases that are capable of degrading the structural components of the extracellular matrix. They play a role in processes that involve remodeling, such as wound healing, angiogenesis and cell migration. Hence MMPs may be important in diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and atherosclerosis. In addition, they may have a role in embryonic development and growth. Most MMPs are secreted, but MT-MMPs are membrane-bound and thus particularly suited for pericellular proteolysis. MT1-MMP is highly expressed in embryonic (peri)skeletal tissues, and has been suggested as an activator of MMP-2 and MMP-13.
To address the physiological role of MT1-MMP by generating mutant mice deficient in MT1-MMP activity.