Jul 12, 2022 1:28:37 PM       by Amy Li

A Beginner's Guide to Matrix Metalloproteinases

You go through everyday life thanks to the intricate communication and interaction of tissue and organ functions between the trillions of cells in your body. Within those tissues, a non-cellular component exists called the extracellular matrix (ECM). Imagine a structure made of water, proteins, and polysaccharides that helps to give structural support to surrounding cells as a connective tissue. Within the ECM lies a group of enzymes named matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). As endopeptidases, which are enzymes that break peptide bonds, the main role of MMPs is to break down collagen and other proteins in the ECM, whether in normal tissues or in promoting cancer metastasis. MMPs are divided into collagenases, gelatinases, stromelysins, matrilysins, and membrane-type (MT) MMPs, as well as some other non-classified MMPs.[1]