Collagenase 3 is an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the MMP13gene. It is a member of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family. Like most MMPs, it is secreted as an inactive pro-form. It is activated once the pro-domain is cleaved, leaving an active enzyme composed of the catalytic domain and the hemopexin-like domain PDB: 1PEX. Although the actual mechanism has not been described, the hemopexin domain participates in collagen degradation, the catalytic domain alone being particularly inefficient in collagen degradation. During embryonic development, MMP13 is expressed in the skeleton as required for restructuring the collagen matrix for bone mineralization. In pathological situations it is highly overexpressed; this occurs in human carcinomas, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Proteins of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family are involved in the breakdown of extracellular matrix in normal physiological processes, such as embryonic development, reproduction, and tissue remodeling, as well as in disease processes, such as arthritis and metastasis. Most MMPs are secreted as inactive proproteins which are activated when cleaved by extracellular proteinases. The protein encoded by this gene cleaves type II collagen more efficiently than types I and III. It may be involved in articular cartilage turnover and cartilage pathophysiology associated with osteoarthritis. The gene is part of a cluster of MMP genes which localize to chromosome 11q22.3.
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