The tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) are naturally occurring proteins that specifically inhibit matrix metalloproteinases and regulate extracellular matrix turnover and tissue remodeling by forming tightbinding inhibitory complexes with the MMPs. Thus, TIMPs maintain the balance between matrix destruction and formation. An imbalance between MMPs and the associated TIMPs may play a significant role in the invasive phenotype of malignant tumors. The TIMP proteins share several structural features including six loops held in place by six disulfide bonds arranged in three knot-like structures.
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