A polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based homology cloning strategy was used to define the spectrum of stromelysin-like matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) synthesized by cultured glomerular mesangial cells (MC). Using this technique, cDNAs encoding an unusual, truncated member of the MMP family, punctuated (putative) metalloproteinase (PUMP-1), were exclusively isolated. Incubation with the cytokines interleukin 1 and tumour necrosis factor increased the abundance of PUMP-1 mRNA in mesangial cells. The mesangial PUMP-1 mRNA is processed in a tissue-specific manner, yielding a transcript containing repeated 3′-untranslated region ATTTA motifs commonly found in cytokines with limited mRNA stability. Polyclonal antibodies prepared against the C-terminal region of the PUMP-1 protein documented release of this enzyme by cultures of cytokine-stimulated MC and permitted identification of PUMP-1-expressing mesangial cells within clinical biopsy specimens of acute glomerulonephritis. These findings represent new molecular and clinical evidence that non-malignant cells process and secrete this unusual member of the MMP family in a cytokine-mediated, tissue-specific manner. Mesangial synthesis of PUMP-1 may contribute to the progression of injury during glomerular inflammatory states.

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