Extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling by metalloproteinases is crucial during development. The ADAMTS (A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase with Thrombospondin type I motifs) enzymes are secreted, multi-domain matrix-associated zinc metalloendopeptidases that have diverse roles in tissue morphogenesis and patho-physiological remodeling. The human family includes 19 members. In this study we identified the 19 members of the ADAMTS family in Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis. Gene identification and a phylogenetic study revealed strong conservation of the ADAMTS family and contributed to a better annotation of the Xenopus genomes. Expression of the entire ADAMTS family was studied from early stages to tadpole stages of Xenopus, and detailed analysis of ADAMTS9 revealed expression in many structures during organogenesis such as neural crest (NC) derivative tissues, the pronephros and the pancreas. Versican, a matrix component substrate of ADAMTS9 shows a similar expression pattern suggesting a role of ADAMTS9 in the remodeling of the ECM in these structures by degradation of versican.
- Xenopus laevis
- Xenopus tropicalis