G Murphy, MI Cockett, PE Stephens, BJ Smith, AJ Docherty
The latent forms of stromelysin and collagenase from human gingival fibroblasts were purified to homogeneity. These latent proenzymes underwent serial small reductions in Mr upon activation by treatment with either 4-aminophenylmercuric acetate or trypsin. Similar shifts in Mr and activation kinetics were observed upon identical treatments of either recombinant prostromelysin or procollagenase. Prostromelysin showed a lag between activation and Mr fall, suggesting an initial activation by conformational change. Collagenase activity was enhanced up to 12-fold by either natural or recombinant stromelysin in the presence of trypsin or 4-aminophenylmercuric acetate. Stromelysin caused a further apparent decrease in the Mr of procollagenase. Since these important connective-tissue-degrading enzymes are usually co-ordinately produced by cells, a cascade mechanism is proposed in which collagenase is activated by stromelysin.