Ann Rheum Dis doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-202080
  • Basic and translational research
  • Extended report

Regulation of matrixmetalloproteinase-3 and matrixmetalloproteinase-13 by SUMO-2/3 through the transcription factor NF-κB

  1. Thomas Pap1
  1. 1Institute of Experimental Musculoskeletal Medicine, University Hospital Muenster, Muenster, Germany
  2. 2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Zeisigwaldkliniken, Chemnitz, Germany
  3. 3Center of Experimental Rheumatology, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Svetlana Frank, Ms, Institute of Experimental Musculoskeletal Medicine, University Hospital Muenster, Domagkstrasse 3, Muenster D-48149, Germany; svetlana.frank{at}
  • Received 24 May 2012
  • Revised 5 December 2012
  • Accepted 27 January 2013
  • Published Online First 16 February 2013


Objective Based on previous data that have linked the small ubiquitin-like modifier-1 (SUMO-1) to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we have investigated the expression of the highly homologous SUMO family members SUMO-2/3 in human RA and in the human tumour necrosis factor α transgenic (hTNFtg) mouse model of RA and studied their role in regulating disease specific matrixmetalloproteinases (MMPs).

Methods Synovial tissue was obtained from RA and osteoarthritis (OA) patients and used for histological analyses as well as for the isolation of synovial fibroblasts (SFs). The expression of SUMO-2/3 in RA and OA patients as well as in hTNFtg and wild type mice was studied by PCR, western blot and immunostaining. SUMO-2/3 was knocked down using small interfering RNA in SFs, and TNF-α induced MMP production was determined by ELISA. Activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) was determined by a luciferase activity assay and a transcription factor assay in the presence of the NF-κB inhibitor BAY 11-7082.

Results Expression of SUMO-2 and to a lesser extent of SUMO-3 was higher in RA tissues and RASFs compared with OA controls. Similarly, there was increased expression of SUMO-2 in the synovium and in SFs of hTNFtg mice compared with wild type animals. In vitro, the expression of SUMO-2 but not of SUMO-3 was induced by TNF-α. The knockdown of SUMO-2/3 significantly increased the TNF-α and interleukin (IL)-1β induced expression of MMP-3 and MMP-13, accompanied by increased NF-κB activity. Induction of MMP-3 and MMP-13 was inhibited by blockade of the NF-κB pathway. TNF-α and IL-1β mediated MMP-1 expression was not regulated by SUMO-2/3.

Conclusions Collectively, we show that despite their high homology, SUMO-2/3 are differentially regulated by TNF-α and selectively control TNF-α mediated MMP expression via the NF-κB pathway. Therefore, we hypothesise that SUMO-2 contributes to the specific activation of RASF.