Proteoglycan degradation by the ADAMTS family of proteinases

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Dec;1812(12):1616-29. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2011.08.009. Epub 2011 Sep 2.


Proteoglycans are key components of extracellular matrices, providing structural support as well as influencing cellular behaviour in physiological and pathological processes. The diversity of proteoglycan function reported in the literature is equally matched by diversity in proteoglycan structure. Members of the ADAMTS (A Disintegrin And Metalloproteinase with ThromboSpondin motifs) family of enzymes degrade proteoglycans and thereby have the potential to alter tissue architecture and regulate cellular function. In this review, we focus on ADAMTS enzymes that degrade the lectican and small leucine-rich repeat families of proteoglycans. We discuss the known ADAMTS cleavage sites and the consequences of cleavage at these sites. We illustrate our discussion with examples from the literature in which ADAMTS proteolysis of proteoglycans makes profound changes to tissue function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ADAM Proteins / chemistry
  • ADAM Proteins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Brevican / metabolism
  • Glioma / blood supply
  • Glioma / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Morphogenesis
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity
  • Ovulation / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism*
  • Proteolysis
  • Vascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Versicans / metabolism


  • Brevican
  • Proteoglycans
  • Versicans
  • ADAM Proteins