Janssen L, Dupont L, Bekhouche M, Noel A, Leduc C, Voz M, Peers B, Cataldo D, Apte SS, Dubail J, Colige A. Angiogenesis. 2016 Jan;19(1):53-65. doi: 10.1007/s10456-015-9488-z. PMID: 26446156
The only documented activity of a subclass of ADAMTS proteases comprising ADAMTS2, 3 and 14 is the cleavage of the aminopropeptide of fibrillar procollagens. A limited number of in vitro studies suggested that ADAMTS3 is mainly responsible for procollagen II processing in cartilage. Here, we created an ADAMTS3 knockout mouse (Adamts3(-/-)) model to determine in vivo the actual functions of ADAMTS3. Heterozygous Adamts3(+/-) mice were viable and fertile, but their intercrosses demonstrated lethality of Adamts3(-/-) embryos after 15 days of gestation. Procollagens I, II and III processing was unaffected in these embryos. However, a massive lymphedema caused by the lack of lymphatics development, an abnormal blood vessel structure in the placenta and a progressive liver destruction were observed. These phenotypes are most probably linked to dysregulation of the VEGF-C pathways. This study is the first demonstration that an aminoprocollagen peptidase is crucial for developmental processes independently of its primary role in collagen biology and has physiological functions potentially involved in several human diseases related to angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis.