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Non-canonical functions of matrix metalloproteinases during EMT of Xenopus neural crest cells (7 dec 2022)

December 7, 2022, 11AM

Eric THEVENEAUUniversité Paul Sabatier - Toulouse 3

Lieu(x) :      Salle de Réunion Bâtiment 84, Ecole Polytechnique


Contact :    Nicolas David
                    nicolas.david at

Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are well known for their roles in matrix remodelling and degradation during morphogenesis, bone homeostasis or cancer. However, it is now clear that MMPs can cleave numerous proteins outside of the matrix realm. They can also traffic to intracellular compartments and display non-catalytic activities. In addition, MMPs expression patterns during embryo development and in adult tissues indicate that MMPs are not restricted to sites of matrix turnover or degradation. Therefore, these observations indicate that MMPs may have multiple non-classical roles that remain to be investigated and whose physiological relevance awaits demonstration. Currently, MMPs are not considered as important players during Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition but rather seen as late effectors that come into play during cell migration, post-EMT. Our lab recently focused on MMP28 in the development of neural crest cells in Xenopus laevis. We found MMP28 to be expressed prior to the initiation of EMT. MMP28 acts as a paracrine signal between adjacent tissues and its trafficking to intracellular compartments is critical for EMT of neural crest cells. This work provides a clear in vivo example of a physiologically relevant non-canonical role of an MMP.

keywords: Xenopus, neural crest, transcriptional control of EMT, adhesion, cell migration, cell cooperation



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