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ADAMTS proteases in vascular biology.

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ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloprotease with thrombospondin motifs) proteases comprise the most recently discovered branch of the extracellular metalloenzymes. Research during the last 15years, uncovered their association with a variety of physiological and pathological processes including blood coagulation, tissue repair, fertility, arthritis and cancer. Importantly, a frequent feature of ADAMTS enzymes relates to their effects on vascular-related phenomena, including angiogenesis. Their specific roles in vascular biology have been clarified by information on their expression profiles and substrate specificity. Through their catalytic activity, ADAMTS proteases modify rather than degrade extracellular proteins. They predominantly target proteoglycans and glycoproteins abundant in the basement membrane, therefore their broad contributions to the vasculature should not come as a surprise. Furthermore, in addition to their proteolytic functions, non-enzymatic roles for ADAMTS have also been identified expanding our understanding on the multiple activities of these enzymes in vascular-related processes.

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