The secreted AdamTS-A metalloprotease is required for collective cell migration

Afshan Ismat, Alan M. Cheshire, Deborah J. Andrew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Members of the ADAMTS family of secreted metalloproteases play crucial roles in modulating the extracellular matrix (ECM) in development and disease. Here, we show that ADAMTS-A, the Drosophila ortholog of human ADAMTS 9 and ADAMTS 20, and of C. elegans GON-1, is required for cell migration during embryogenesis. AdamTS-A is expressed in multiple migratory cell types, including hemocytes, caudal visceral mesoderm (CVM), the visceral branch of the trachea (VBs) and the secretory portion of the salivary gland (SG). Loss of AdamTS-A causes defects in germ cell, CVM and VB migration and, depending on the tissue, AdamTS-A functions both autonomously and non-autonomously. In the highly polarized collective of the SG epithelium, loss of AdamTS-A causes apical surface irregularities and cell elongation defects. We provide evidence that ADAMTS-A is secreted into the SG lumen where it functions to release cells from the apical ECM, consistent with the defects observed in AdamTS-A mutant SGs. We show that loss of the apically localized protocadherin Cad99C rescues the SG defects, suggesting that Cad99C serves as a link between the SG apical membrane and the secreted apical ECM component(s) cleaved by ADAMTS-A. Our analysis of AdamTS-A function in the SG suggests a novel role for ADAMTS proteins in detaching cells from the apical ECM, facilitating tube elongation during collective cell migration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1981-1993
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2013


  • Collective migration
  • Drosophila
  • GON-1
  • Salivary gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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