Mechanistic insights into targeting T cell membrane proteinase to promote islet β-cell rejuvenation in type 1 diabetes

Alexei Y. Savinov, Dmitri V. Rozanov, Alex Y. Strongin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


It has been well established that invasion-promoting membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP), a multifunctional membrane-tethered enzyme, functions in cancer cells as a mediator of pericellular proteolysis and directly cleaves several cell surface receptors, including CD44. In this report, we confirm that adhesion of diabetogenic T cells promotes the activation of endogenous MT1-MMP. Activated protease then cleaves CD44 in adherent T cells. We have validated that the T cell CD44 receptor is critical for the adhesion of diabetogenic insulin-specific, CD8-positive, Kd-restricted cells to the matrix as well as for the subsequent transmigration of the adherent T cells through the endothelium and homing of the transmigrated T cells into the pancreatic islets. We have determined that the inhibition of MT1-MMP by low dosages of AG3340 (a subnanomolar range hydroxamate inhibitor of MMPs that has been widely tested in cancer patients) inhibited both T cell MT1-MMP activity and MT1-MMP-dependent shedding of CD44, immobilized T cells on the endothelium, repressed the homing of diabetogenic T cells into the pancreatic islets, reduced insulitis and mononuclear cell infiltration, and promoted either the recovery or the rejuvenation of the functional insulin-producing β cells in diabetic NOD mice with freshly developed type I diabetes (IDDM). We believe our data constitute a mechanistic and substantive rationale for clinical trials of selected MT1-MMP inhibitors in the therapy of IDDM in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1793-1801
Number of pages9
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • CD44
  • IDDM
  • MT1-MMP
  • Monoclonal antibody

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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