We first confirmed an earlier immunohistochemical study showing that immunoreactive TIMP-1-like protein accumulated in the nuclei of human gingival fibroblasts (Gin-1 cells), reaching a maximum in the S phase of the cell cycle (Li, H., Nishio, K., Yamashita, K., Hayakawa, T. and Hoshino, T. (1995). Nagoya J. Med. Sci. 58, 133–142). Then we isolated this protein from a nuclear extract of Gin-1 cells and demonstrated it to be identical to human recombinant TIMP-1 by western blotting, by a sandwich enzyme immunoassay for TIMP-1 and by an assay for matrix metalloproteinase inhibition. The amount of TIMP-1 in the cytosolic fraction of quiescent Gin-1 cells after stimulation by fetal calf serum increased continuously for 48 hours, whereas that in the nuclear extract showed a maximum at 24 hours (S phase) and significantly decreased thereafter. Gin-1 cells expressed mRNAs for both TIMP-2 and TIMP-3 together with mRNA for TIMP-1. However, neither TIMP-2 nor TIMP-3 proteins seemed to accumulate in the nuclei of Gin-1 cells. These facts strongly suggest that TIMP-1 accumulates specifically in the nuclei of Gin-1 cells in a cell cycle-dependent manner.

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