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Andrea  Page-McCaw

Andrea Page-McCaw, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology

Contact Information:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center
465 21st Avenue South
MRBIII, rm 4206
Nashville, TN 37232-8240


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) can cleave components of the extracellular matrix. They are upregulated in most tumors and are believed to facilitate tumor growth and invasion. Accordingly, MMP inhibitors have been the targets of several clinical trials. Yet the use of MMP inhibitors as therapeutic agents has been problematic as they have caused unacceptable side effects. These side effects highlight the importance of understanding the normal physiological and developmental roles of MMPs. My laboratory is examining the requirements for MMPs in a model organism Drosophila melaogaster. Although vertebrates have more than 20 MMP family members, Drosophila has only two (non-redundant) MMPs; this organism is also highly amenable to developmental and physiological studies at the genetic and cell biological level. Our studies have demonstrated that MMPs are absolutely required for tissue remodeling events that normally occur during growth and during the transition from juvenile to adult forms.

My laboratory has an additional focus on wound healing. Normal wound healing shares many similarities with the tumor microenvironment, and indeed tumor invasion has been compared to “wound healing gone awry.” We are examining the contributions of blood cells and epithelia to healing normal epithelial wounds. In our model system, MMPs are required in both blood and in epithelia, as animals lacking MMPs in either tissue cannot heal puncture wounds. We seek to understand the functions of MMPs in this normal physiological process to use these findings to understand the tumor microenvironment.

  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1998)
  • A.B., Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1989)
Postgraduate Training
  • Postdoctoral training, University of California Berkeley
Research Description

Animals modify existing tissues in response to developmental programs. Tissue remodeling is also required for tissue repair after insult or injury, and tumors usurp tissue remodeling functions to promote metastasis. My lab is especially interested in how cells interact with the extracellular environment during remodeling, both in terms of signaling and extracellular matrix. Specifically, we are analyzing how tissues detect and respond to wounds, how the availability of signaling molecules is regulated extracellularly, and how extracellular matrix is remodeled and repaired.

Drosophila melanogaster (the common fruitfly) has been an important model organism for understanding cell and developmental biology because of its advanced genetics and remarkable conservation with humans. We utilize these features to address fundamental questions about how cells interact with their extracellular environment.

  • Wang X, Page-McCaw A. A matrix metalloproteinase mediates long-distance attenuation of stem cell proliferation. J. Cell Biol. 2014 Sep 9/29/2014; 206(7): 923-36. PMID: 25267296, PMCID: PMC4178971, PII: jcb.201403084, DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201403084, ISSN: 1540-8140.
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  • McCall AS, Cummings CF, Bhave G, Vanacore R, Page-McCaw A, Hudson BG. Bromine is an essential trace element for assembly of collagen IV scaffolds in tissue development and architecture. Cell. 2014 Jun 6/5/2014; 157(6): 1380-92. PMID: 24906154, PMCID: PMC4144415, PII: S0092-8674(14)00598-4, DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.05.009, ISSN: 1097-4172.
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  • Saito-Diaz K, Chen TW, Wang X, Thorne CA, Wallace HA, Page-McCaw A, Lee E. The way Wnt works: components and mechanism. Growth Factors [print-electronic]. 2013 Feb; 31(1): 1-31. PMID: 23256519, PMCID: PMC3697919, DOI: 10.3109/08977194.2012.752737, ISSN: 1029-2292.
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  • Stevens LJ, Page-McCaw A. A secreted MMP is required for reepithelialization during wound healing. Mol. Biol. Cell [print-electronic]. 2012 Mar; 23(6): 1068-79. PMID: 22262460, PMCID: PMC3302734, PII: mbc.E11-09-0745, DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E11-09-0745, ISSN: 1939-4586.
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  • Broderick S, Wang X, Simms N, Page-McCaw A. Drosophila Ninjurin A induces nonapoptotic cell death. PLoS ONE [print-electronic]. 2012; 7(9): e44567. PMID: 23028562, PMCID: PMC3460944, PII: PONE-D-12-13545, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044567, ISSN: 1932-6203.
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  • Miller CM, Liu N, Page-McCaw A, Broihier HT. Drosophila MMP2 regulates the matrix molecule faulty attraction (Frac) to promote motor axon targeting in Drosophila. J. Neurosci. 2011 Apr 4/6/2011; 31(14): 5335-47. PMID: 21471368, PMCID: PMC3486643, PII: 31/14/5335, DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4811-10.2011, ISSN: 1529-2401.
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  • Glasheen BM, Robbins RM, Piette C, Beitel GJ, Page-McCaw A. A matrix metalloproteinase mediates airway remodeling in Drosophila. Dev. Biol [print-electronic]. 2010 Aug 8/15/2010; 344(2): 772-83. PMID: 20513443, PMCID: PMC2914218, PII: S0012-1606(10)00807-9, DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.05.504, ISSN: 1095-564X.
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  • Glasheen BM, Kabra AT, Page-McCaw A. Distinct functions for the catalytic and hemopexin domains of a Drosophila matrix metalloproteinase. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A [print-electronic]. 2009 Feb 2/24/2009; 106(8): 2659-64. PMID: 19196956, PMCID: PMC2636737, PII: 0804171106, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0804171106, ISSN: 1091-6490.
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  • Page-McCaw A. Remodeling the model organism: matrix metalloproteinase functions in invertebrates. Semin. Cell Dev. Biol [print-electronic]. 2008 Feb; 19(1): 14-23. PMID: 17702617, PMCID: PMC2248213, PII: S1084-9521(07)00089-4, DOI: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2007.06.004, ISSN: 1084-9521.
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  • Miller CM, Page-McCaw A, Broihier HT. Matrix metalloproteinases promote motor axon fasciculation in the Drosophila embryo. Development [print-electronic]. 2008 Jan; 135(1): 95-109. PMID: 18045838, PII: dev.011072, DOI: 10.1242/dev.011072, ISSN: 0950-1991.
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  • Beaucher M, Hersperger E, Page-McCaw A, Shearn A. Metastatic ability of Drosophila tumors depends on MMP activity. Dev. Biol [print-electronic]. 2007 Mar 3/15/2007; 303(2): 625-34. PMID: 17239363, PII: S0012-1606(06)01401-1, DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.12.001, ISSN: 0012-1606.
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  • Page-McCaw A, Ewald AJ, Werb Z. Matrix metalloproteinases and the regulation of tissue remodelling. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 2007 Mar; 8(3): 221-33. PMID: 17318226, PMCID: PMC2760082, PII: nrm2125, DOI: 10.1038/nrm2125, ISSN: 1471-0072.
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  • Zhang S, Dailey GM, Kwan E, Glasheen BM, Sroga GE, Page-McCaw A. An MMP liberates the Ninjurin A ectodomain to signal a loss of cell adhesion. Genes Dev [print-electronic]. 2006 Jul 7/15/2006; 20(14): 1899-910. PMID: 16815999, PMCID: PMC1522090, PII: gad.1426906, DOI: 10.1101/gad.1426906, ISSN: 0890-9369.
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  • Myllykangas L, Tyynelä J, Page-McCaw A, Rubin GM, Haltia MJ, Feany MB. Cathepsin D-deficient Drosophila recapitulate the key features of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses. Neurobiol. Dis. 2005 Jun; 19(1-2): 194-9. PMID: 15837574, PII: S0969-9961(04)00324-9, DOI: 10.1016/j.nbd.2004.12.019, ISSN: 0969-9961.
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  • Page-McCaw A, Serano J, Santé JM, Rubin GM. Drosophila matrix metalloproteinases are required for tissue remodeling, but not embryonic development. Dev. Cell. 2003 Jan; 4(1): 95-106. PMID: 12530966, PII: S1534580702004008, ISSN: 1534-5807.
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