- Page-McCaw A, Serano J, Santé JM, Rubin GM. Drosophila matrix metalloproteinases are required for tissue remodeling, but not embryonic development. Developmental Cell. 2003 Jan;4(1). 95-106. PMID: 12530966 [PubMed].
The matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family is heavily implicated in many diseases, including cancer. The developmental functions of these genes are not clear, however, because the >20 mammalian MMPs can be functionally redundant. Drosophila melanogaster has only two MMPs, which are expressed in embryos in distinct patterns. We created mutations in both genes: Mmp1 mutants have defects in larval tracheal growth and pupal head eversion, and Mmp2 mutants have defects in larval tissue histolysis and epithelial fusion during metamorphosis; neither is required for embryonic development. Double mutants also complete embryogenesis, and these represent the first time, to our knowledge, that all MMPs have been disrupted in any organism. Thus, MMPs are not required for Drosophila embryonic development, but, rather, for tissue remodeling.