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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Matrix metalloproteinases and their inhibitors regulate in vitro ureteric bud branching morphogenesis.

Mammalian kidney development is initiated by the mutual interaction between embryonic metanephric mesenchyme (MM) and the ureteric bud (UB), leading to tightly controlled UB branching morphogenesis. In a three-dimensional cell culture model, which employs MM cell-derived conditioned medium (BSN-CM) to induce UB cell branching morphogenesis in extracellular matrix (ECM) gels (Sakurai H, Barros EJ, Tsukamoto T, Barasch J, and Nigam SK. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 94: 6279-6284, 1997), branching morphogenesis was inhibited by both chemical agents (ilomastat and 1,10-orthophenanthroline) and a physiological protein factor [tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP)-2], known to act as matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitors. In addition, UB branching was inhibited in isolated UB culture (Qiao J, Sakurai H, and Nigam SK. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96: 7330-7335, 1999) by TIMP-2 and ilomastat, suggesting a direct role for MMPs in UB branching. Gelatin zymography and enzymatic measurement of MMP activity revealed that MMPs could originate from at least three different sources: the conditioned medium, the ECM, and the UB cells themselves. In the UB cells, transcription of several MMPs [gelatinase A (MMP2) and B ( MMP9), stromelysin (MMP3), MT1-MMP] and TIMPs was altered by BSN-CM and changed as more complex branching structures formed. The ECM appeared to serve as both a reservoir for MMPs and modulated their expression because different ECM compositions altered the total MMP activity as well as specific subsets of MMPs expressed by the UB cells (as determined by zymography and Northern analysis). In the context of UB branching morphogenesis during kidney development, our data suggest a complex model in which soluble factors produced by the MM, in the context of specific ECM components, modulate the expression of specific subsets of MMPs and TIMPs in the UB, which alter as structures develop and the matrix environment changes. This suggests distinct roles for different subsets of MMPs and their inhibitors during different phases of branching morphogenesis.[1]


  1. Matrix metalloproteinases and their inhibitors regulate in vitro ureteric bud branching morphogenesis. Pohl, M., Sakurai, H., Bush, K.T., Nigam, S.K. Am. J. Physiol. Renal Physiol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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