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Axonal growth towards Xenopus skin in vitro is mediated by matrix metalloproteinase activity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-531
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

King's Authors

Abstract

We have previously demonstrated that the growth of peripheral nervous system axons is strongly attracted towards limb buds and skin explants in vitro. Here, we show that directed axonal growth towards skin explants of Xenopus laevis in matrigel is associated with expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-18 and also other MMPs, and that this long-range neurotropic activity is inhibited by the broad-spectrum MMP inhibitors BB-94 and GM6001. We also show that forced expression of MMP-18 in COS-7 cell aggregates enhances axonal growth from Xenopus dorsal root ganglia explants. Nidogen is the target of MMPs released by cultured skin in matrigel, whereas other components remain intact. Our results suggest a novel link between MMP activity and extracellular matrix breakdown in the control of axonal growth.

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