Journal of Cell Communication and Signaling
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Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are secreted endopeptidases that play an essential role in remodeling the extracellular matrix (ECM). MMPs are primarily active during development, when the majority of ECM remodeling events occurs. In adults, elevated MMP activity has been observed in many pathological conditions such as cancer and osteoarthritis. The proteolytic activity of MMPs is controlled by their natural inhibitors - the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMPs). In addition to blocking MMP-mediated proteolysis, TIMPs have a number of MMP-independent functions including binding to cell surface proteins thereby stimulating signaling cascades. TIMP-2, the most studied member of the family, can both inhibit and activate MMPs directly, as well as inhibit MMP activity indirectly by upregulating expression of RECK, a membrane anchored MMP regulator. While TIMP-2 has been shown to play important roles in breast cancer, we describe how the MMP-independent effects of TIMP-2 can modulate the invasiveness of MCF-7, T47D and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Using an ALA + TIMP-2 mutant which is devoid of MMP inhibition, but still capable of initiating specific cell signaling cascades, we show that TIMP-2 can differentially affect MMP activity and cellular invasiveness in both an MMP dependent and independent manner. More specifically, MMP activity and invasiveness is increased with the addition of exogenous TIMP-2 in poorly invasive cell lines whereas it is decreased in highly invasive cells lines (MDA-MB-231). Conversely, the addition of ALA + TIMP-2 resulted in decreased invasiveness regardless of cell line. © The International CCN Society 2012.