Human matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) belong to the M10 family of the MA clan of endopeptidases. They are ubiquitarian enzymes, structurally characterized by an active site where a Zn2+ atom, coordinated by three histidines, plays the catalytic role, assisted by a glutamic acid as a general base. Based on their structure and substrate specificity, they can be categorized into five main subgroups, namely (1) collagenases (MMP-1, MMP-8 and MMP-13); (2) gelatinases (MMP-2 and MMP-9); (3) stromelysins (MMP-3, MMP-10 and MMP-11); (4) matrilysins (MMP-7 and MMP-26) and (5) membrane-type (MT) MMPs (MMP-14, MMP-15, MMP-16, MMP-17, MMP-24 and MMP-25). MMPs can act on extracellular matrix (ECM) and non-ECM components affecting degradation and modulation of the ECM, growth-factor activation and cell-cell and cell-matrix signalling. In skin, MMPs are secreted by different cell types such as fibroblasts, keratinocytes, macrophages, endothelial cells, mast cells, and eosinophils. This chapter reviews the role of MMPs in maintaining skin homeostasis, skin ageing and skin cancer.
Part of the book: The Role of Matrix Metalloproteinase in Human Body Pathologies