Pump-1 cDNA has recently been isolated by screening a human tumor cDNA library with a transin (rat stromelysin) probe under low-stringency hybridization conditions. The cDNA codes for a potential protein with significant sequence similarity to the metalloproteinases collagenase and stromelysin, but which lacks the hemopexin-like domain characteristic of these enzymes. Expression of pump-1 cDNA in cos cells using an expression vector leads to secretion of a protein of Mr 28,000 with latent, organomercurial-activatable proteinase activity. Cos cells transfected with a partial pump-1 cDNA in the vector pPROTA secrete a fusion protein between the IgG-binding domains of staphylococcal protein A and pump-1. The fusion protein binds to IgG-Sepharose, and the bound fusion protein undergoes apparent autocleavage in the presence of 4-aminophenylmercuric acetate with elution of active pump-1 species of Mr 21,000 and 19,000. Active pump-1 degrades casein, gelatins of types I, III, IV, and V, and fibronectin and can activate collagenase. Active pump-1 is inhibited by EDTA, 1,10-phenanthroline, and the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases. These results show that, despite the absence of a hemopexin-like domain, pump-1 is a latent secreted metalloproteinase. Postpartum rat uteri contain elevated levels of rat pump-1 mRNA. On the basis of this observation, its size, and its substrate specificity, we suggest that pump-1 might correspond to a previously described uterine metalloproteinase, matrix metalloproteinase 7.