Matrix metalloproteinases in a sea urchin ligament with adaptable mechanical properties

Ana R. Ribeiro, Alice Barbaglio, Maria J. Oliveira, Cristina C. Ribeiro, Iain C. Wilkie, Maria D. Candia Carnevali, Mario A. Barbosa

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Mutable collagenous tissues (MCTs) of echinoderms show reversible changes in tensile properties (mutability) that are initiated and modulated by the nervous system via the activities of cells known as juxtaligamental cells. The molecular
mechanism underpinning this mechanical adaptability has still to be elucidated. Adaptable connective tissues are also present in mammals, most notably in the uterine cervix, in which changes in stiffness result partly from changes in the
balance between matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs). There have been no attempts to assess the potential involvement of MMPs in the echinoderm mutability phenomenon, apart from studies dealing with a process whose relationship to the latter is uncertain. In this investigation we used the compass depressor ligaments (CDLs) of the sea-urchin Paracentrotus lividus.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere49016
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • mutable collagenous tissues
  • MCT
  • sea urchin
  • MMP
  • matrix metalloproteinases


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