The Journal of biological chemistry

Molecular design of a highly selective and strong protein inhibitor against matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2).

PMID 23395821


Synthetic inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), designed previously, as well as tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) lack enzyme selectivity, which has been a major obstacle for developing inhibitors into safe and effective MMP-targeted drugs. Here we designed a fusion protein named APP-IP-TIMP-2, in which the ten amino acid residue sequence of APP-derived MMP-2 selective inhibitory peptide (APP-IP) is added to the N terminus of TIMP-2. The APP-IP and TIMP-2 regions of the fusion protein are designed to interact with the active site and the hemopexin-like domain of MMP-2, respectively. The reactive site of the TIMP-2 region, which has broad specificity against MMPs, is blocked by the APP-IP adduct. The recombinant APP-IP-TIMP-2 showed strong inhibitory activity toward MMP-2 (Ki(app) = 0.68 pm), whereas its inhibitory activity toward MMP-1, MMP-3, MMP-7, MMP-8, MMP-9, or MT1-MMP was six orders of magnitude or more weaker (IC50 > 1 μm). The fusion protein inhibited the activation of pro-MMP-2 in the concanavalin A-stimulated HT1080 cells, degradation of type IV collagen by the cells, and the migration of stimulated cells. Compared with the decapeptide APP-IP (t½ = 30 min), APP-IP-TIMP-2 (t½ ≫ 96 h) showed a much longer half-life in cultured tumor cells. Therefore, the fusion protein may be a useful tool to evaluate contributions of proteolytic activity of MMP-2 in various pathophysiological processes. It may also be developed as an effective anti-tumor drug with restricted side effects.