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The Repertoire of Tissue Inhibitors of Metalloproteases: Evolution, Regulation of Extracellular Matrix Proteolysis, Engineering and Therapeutic Challenges


Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteases (TIMPs) belong to a fascinating protein family expressed in all Metazoa. They act as regulators of the turnover of the extracellular matrix, and they are consistently involved in essential processes. Herein, we recapitulate the main activities of mammalian times (TIMP1–4) in the control of extracellular-matrix degradation and pathologies associated with aberrant proteostasis. We delineate the activity of TIMPs in the control of extracellular matrix (ECM)homeostasis and discuss the diversity of TIMPs across metazoans taking into account the emergence of the components of the ECM during evolution. Thus, the TIMP repertoire herein analysed includes the homologs from cnidarians, which are coeval with the origins of ECM components; protostomes (mollusks, arthropods, and nematodes); and deuterostomes (echinoderms and vertebrates). Several questions, including the maintenance of the structure despite low sequence similarity and the strategies for TIMP engineering, shed light on the possibility to use recombinant TIMPsintegrating unique features and binding selectivity for therapeutic applications in the treatment of inflammatory pathologies.