Chondrocyte cultures express matrix metalloproteinase mRNA and immunoreactive protein; stromelysin-1 and 72 kDa gelatinase are localized in extracellular matrix vesicles

J. P. Schmitz, D. D. Dean, Z. Schwartz, D. L. Cochran, G. M. Grant, R. J. Klebe, H. Nakaya, B. D. Boyan

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Previous studies have shown that costochondral cartilage cell cultures produce extracellular matrix vesicles which contain metalloproteinase activity. In the present study, we examined whether two matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) known to be present in cartilage, stromelysin-1 and 72 kDa gelatinase, are expressed by fourth passage resting zone and growth zone costochondral chondrocytes and whether they are specifically incorporated into matrix vesicles produced by the cells. We also examined whether the cells synthesize tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 and -2 (TIMP-1 and TIMP-2). Oligonucleotide primers for stromelysin-1, 72 kDa gelatinase, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 and -2 (TIMP-1 and TIMP- 2), and GAPDH were synthesized and optimized for use in the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). It was found that both resting zone and growth zone chondrocytes produced mRNA for both MMPs and the two TIMPs. Further, immunostaining of cell layers with antibodies to 72 kDa gelatinase and stromelysin-1 showed that both cell types produced these MMPs in culture. Substrate gel electrophoresis and Western analysis were used to characterize MMP activity in matrix vesicles, media vesicles, or plasma membranes as well as in conditioned media produced by the chondrocyte cultures. It was found that matrix vesicles but not plasma membranes or media vesicles were selectively enriched in stromelysin-1. Also, 72 kDa gelatinase was found in matrix vesicles, but to a lesser extent than seen in media vesicles. The relative activity of each enzyme detected was cell maturation- dependent. No MMP activity was detected in conditioned media produced by either cell type. The results of this study show that MMPs are expressed by resting zone and growth zone chondrocytes in culture and differentially distributed among three different membrane compartments. This suggests that, in addition to the well-known activators and inhibitors of MMP activity in the matrix, differential membrane distribution may enable more precise control over the site, rate, and extent of matrix degradation by the cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-391
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 18 1996



  • 72 kDa gelatinase
  • RT-PCR
  • chondrocytes
  • growth plate cartilage
  • matrix vesicles
  • metalloproteinases
  • stromelysin-1
  • zymography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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