A classic model of tubulogenesis utilizes Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. MDCK cells form monoclonal cysts in three-dimensional collagen and tubulate in response to hepatocyte growth factor, which activates multiple signaling pathways, including the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. It was shown previously that MAPK activation is necessary and sufficient to induce the first stage of tubulogenesis, the partial epithelial to mesenchymal transition (p-EMT), whereas matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are necessary for the second redifferentiation stage. To identify specific MMP genes, their regulators, tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMPs), and the molecular pathways by which they are activated, we used two distinct MAPK inhibitors and a technique we have termed subtraction pathway microarray analysis. Of the 19 MMPs and 3 TIMPs present on the Canine Genome 2.0 Array, MMP13 and TIMP1 were up-regulated 198- and 169-fold, respectively, via the MAPK pathway. This was confirmed by two-dimensional and three-dimensional real time PCR, as well as in MDCK cells inducible for the MAPK gene Raf. Knockdown of MMP13 using short hairpin RNA prevented progression past the initial phase of p-EMT. Knockdown of TIMP1 prevented normal cystogenesis, although the initial phase of p-EMT did occasionally occur. The MMP13 knockdown phenotype is likely because of decreased collagenase activity, whereas the TIMP1 knockdown phenotype appears due to increased apoptosis. These data suggest a model, which may also be important for development of other branched organs, whereby the MAPK pathway controls both MDCK p-EMT and redifferentiation, in part by activating MMP13 and TIMP1.