Membrane associated matrix metalloproteinases in metastasis

Bioessays. 1999 Nov;21(11):940-9. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-1878(199911)21:11<940::AID-BIES6>3.0.CO;2-J.


Hematogenous metastasis is postulated to involve tumor cell-initiated degradation of basement membrane barriers and underlying connective tissue matrices. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) are zinc-dependent endopeptidases that have been implicated in the proteolytic events of tumor cell invasion. Research has revealed a class of membrane-anchored metalloproteinases (MT-MMPs) and has provided convincing evidence that these enzymes activate latent MMP-2 (72 kDa gelatinase A) on the cell surface. The activation of plasma membrane associated MMP is a potential mechanism for facilitation of cellular metastasis and requires consideration when addressing potential roles of MMPs in tumor progression. This review focuses on potential in vivo regulatory mechanisms of membrane-associated MMP activity in the context of tumor cell interaction with matrix macromolecules. BioEssays 1999;21:940-949.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Basement Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / enzymology*
  • Connective Tissue / metabolism
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Metalloendopeptidases / chemistry*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*


  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2