MMP9: a novel function in synaptic plasticity

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2012 May;44(5):709-13. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2012.01.023. Epub 2012 Feb 9.


Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), an extracellularly acting, Zn(2+)-dependent endopeptidase is a subject to complex regulation at the level of transcription, mRNA dendritic translocation, and local translation as well as protein activation, as it is released extracellularly in a latent, pro-form with the enzymatic site covered by a propeptide that has to be cleaved off to reveal the activity. In neurons, MMP-9 is present at the postsynaptic domains of excitatory synapses. Here, we review the role of MMP-9 in induction of structural dendritic spine modifications and in synaptic plasticity. In particular, we focus on local translation, activity-dependent secretion and activation of MMP-9 leading to its role in long term potentiation and regulation of remodeling of dendritic spines.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Dendritic Spines / physiology
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Enzyme Precursors / genetics
  • Enzyme Precursors / metabolism
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Enzyme Precursors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9