Tissue-remodeling processes are largely mediated by members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family of endopeptidases whose expression is strictly controlled both spatially and temporally, In this article, we have examined the molecular mechanisms that could contribute to modulate the expression of MMPs like collagenase-3 and MT1-MMP during bone formation. We have found that all-trans retinoic acid (RA), which usually downregulates MMPs, strongly induces collagenase-3 expression in cultures of embryonic metatarsal cartilage rudiments and in chondrocytic cells. This effect is dose and time dependent, requires the de novo synthesis of proteins, and is mediated by RAR-RXR heterodimers. Analysis of the signal transduction mechanisms underlying the upregulating effect of RA on collagenase-3 expression demonstrated that this factor acts through a signaling pathway involving p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase. RA treatment of chondrocytic cells also induces the production of MT1-MMP, a membrane-bound metalloproteinase essential for skeletal formation, which participates in a proteolytic cascade with collagenase-3. The production of these MMPs is concomitant with the development of an RA-induced differentiation program characterized by formation of a mineralized bone matrix, downregulation of chondrocyte markers like type II collagen, and upregulation of osteoblastic markers such as osteocalcin. These effects are attenuated in metatarsal rudiments in which RA induces the invasion of perichondrial osteogenic cells from the perichondrium into the cartilage rudiment. RA treatment also resulted in the upregulation of Cbfa1, a transcription factor responsible for collagenase-3 and osteocalcin induction in osteoblastic cells. The dynamics of Cbfa1, MMPs, and osteocalcin expression is consistent with the fact that these genes could be part of a regulatory cascade initiated by RA and leading to the induction of Cbfa1, which in turn would upregulate the expression of some of their target genes like collagenase-3 and osteocalcin.
A regulatory cascade involving retinoic acid, Cbfa1, and matrix metalloproteinases is coupled to the development of a process of perichondrial invasion and osteogenic differentiation during bone formation / M. J. G., Jimenez; M., Balbin; J., Alvarez; T., Komori; Bianco, Paolo; K., Holmbeck; H., Birkedal Hansen; J. M., Lopez; C., Lopez Otin. - In: THE JOURNAL OF CELL BIOLOGY. - ISSN 0021-9525. - 155:7(2001), pp. 1333-1344. [10.1083/jcb.200106147]