• matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9);
  • Xenopus laevis;
  • metamorphosis;
  • intestinal remodeling;
  • apoptosis


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) play a pivotal role in development and/or pathogenesis through degrading extracellular matrix (ECM) components. We have previously shown that Xenopus MMP-9 gene is duplicated. To assess possible roles of MMP-9 and MMP-9TH in X. laevis intestinal remodeling, we here analyzed their expression profiles by in situ hybridization and show that their expression is transiently up-regulated during thyroid hormone-dependent metamorphosis. Of interest, MMP-9TH mRNA is strictly localized in the connective tissue and most highly expressed just beneath the larval epithelium that begins to undergo apoptosis. On the other hand, cells expressing MMP-9 mRNA become first detectable in the connective tissue and then, after the start of epithelial apoptosis, also in the larval epithelium. These results strongly suggest that MMP-9TH is responsible in the larval epithelial apoptosis through degrading ECM components in the basal lamina, whereas MMP-9 is involved in the removal of dying epithelial cells during amphibian intestinal remodeling. Developmental Dynamics 236:2338–2345, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.