Comparative studies of collagenase and stromelysin-1 expression by rheumatoid synoviocytes in vitro
Fibroblast-type collagenase, a neutral secretory metalloproteinase capable of cleaving interstitial collagen types I-III, is expressed by a number of different cell types including fibroblasts, macrophages, osteoblasts, and keratinoyctes. To elucidate the secretory pathway of this enzyme, we examined the ultrastructural localization of this metalloproteinase in cultured human gingival fibroblasts, particularly the routing of the enzyme from the Golgi cisternae to the cell surface utilizing rabbit polyclonal antibodies raised against human fibroblast (pro) collagenase. For this purpose, one percent glutaraldehyde followed by gentle permeabilization with saponin gave superior preservation of both cellular morphology and intracellular antigenicity. At the light microscopic level, the reacting antibodies visualized by immunofluorescence and immunoperoxidase staining were localized intracellularly in the perinuclear region reflecting the Golgi apparatus. Immunoelectronmicroscopy using the pre-embedding technique and peroxidase or immunogold staining revealed electron dense label in large vacuoles indicating extended cisternae of the Golgi field. Vesicles were noted leaving the plasma membrane in long extensions. Moreover, intact vesicle containing the antibody reaction product appeared outside the membrane. In addition, most extracellular vesicular structures appeared empty of label suggesting that the collagenase had been liberated into the extracellular space. The latter observation was supported by the fact that the label was found also on the extracellular surface of the cells indicating a (re)association of collagenase with the outer cell membrane. These data demonstrate that the pathway of interstitial collagenase in human gingival fibroblasts is similar to that of other secretory proteins.