Mechanisms by Which Matrix Metalloproteinases May Influence Apoptosis

  • William C. Powell
  • Lynn M. Matrisian


Apoptotic cell death plays a critical role in controlling cell number and tissue morphology in embryonic and adult organisms. Recently, there have been significant advances in the understanding of apoptosis at the cellular level. The cloning of diverse genes such as Fas and TNF α ligands/receptors, bcl-2, and ICE family members has lead to an increased knowledge of the signal transduction pathways used by cells to monitor and respond to their environment by inducing apoptosis. Components of the extracellular matrix play an important role in this process. Basement membrane and extracellular matrix contain information critical to the identity of the cell and the context in which it responds to external signals. Disruption of the matrix by the matrix-degrading metalloproteinases can therefore dramatically alter the response of cells to apoptotic signals. It is also interesting to consider that the proteolytic activity of metalloproteinases toward matrix components or other potential substrates provide alternative mechanisms by which degradative enzymes could actively influence apoptotic pathways. This review will discuss two systems in which metalloproteinases have been shown to be involved in apoptotic pathways and discuss potential mechanisms for this effect.


Basement Membrane Mammary Gland Mammary Epithelial Cell Mouse Mammary Gland Whey Acidic Protein 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Powell
    • 1
  • Lynn M. Matrisian
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cell BiologyVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA

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