As a metalloproteinase specialized in releasing membrane-tethered proteins, A Disintegrin and A Metalloproteinase 17 (ADAM17), also known as Tumor necrosis factor-α Converting Enzyme (TACE) or less commonly CD156q, has received more than its share of attention. This is mainly because major contemporary pathologies like cancer, inflammatory and vascular diseases seem to be connected to its cleavage abilities. The involvement in such a broad spectrum of diseases is due to the large variety of substrates that ADAM17 is able to cut. ADAM17 can activate growth factors or inactivate receptors by shedding their extracellular domain from the cell membrane. Similarly, it can detach cells by cleaving cell adhesion molecules. Some of these proteolytic events are part of cleavage cascades known as Regulated Intramembrane Proteolysis and lead to intracellular signaling. It is therefore clear that ADAM17 literally fulfills a key role in diverse processes and pathologies, making it a prime target for developing therapies. Here we review the role of ADAM17 in health and disease and highlight the problems to overcome for ADAM17 to mature towards a therapeutically valuable target.
Keywords: TACE, degradome, tumor, inflammation, inhibitor, shedding
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