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Official Full Name
ADAM metallopeptidase with thrombospondin type 1 motif, 18
This gene encodes a member of the ADAMTS (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs) protein family. ADAMTS family members share several distinct protein modules, including a propeptide region, a metalloproteinase domain, a disintegrin-like domain, and a thrombospondin type 1 (TS) motif. Individual members of this family differ in the number of C-terminal TS motifs, and some have unique C-terminal domains. The protein encoded by this gene has a high sequence similarity to the protein encoded by gene ADAMTS16, another family member. It is thought to function as a tumor suppressor. Alternatively spliced transcript variants have been identified, but their biological validity has not been determined.
ADAMTS18; ADAM metallopeptidase with thrombospondin type 1 motif, 18; a disintegrin like and metalloprotease (reprolysin type) with thrombospondin type 1 motif, 18 , ADAMTS21; A disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs 18; ADAMTS 18; ADAMTS21; EC 3.4.24.; ADAM-TS18; ADAMTS-18; ADAM-TS 18; disintegrin and metalloprotease-like protein; a disintegrin-like and metalloprotease (reprolysin type) with thrombospondin type 1 motif, 18; a disintegrin-like and metalloprotease (reprolysin type) with thrombospondin type 1 motif, 21; KNO2

A disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs 18 are abbreviated as ADAMTS18. ADAMTS18 is a member of the ADAMTS (disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motif) protein family. Members of the ADAMTS family share several different protein modules, including the propeptide region, the metalloproteinase domain, the disintegrin-like domain, and the thrombospondin type 1 (TS) motif.

It is most closely related to ADAMTS16, which has 57% overall identity and 85% identity. ADAMTS18 mRNA was found to be abundantly expressed in all normal human tissues. In human fetal tissues, ADAMTS18 mRNA expression was found in the lung, liver, and kidney. Endothelial cells constitutively express ADAMTS18. TNF-α induces secretion of ADAMTS18 in cultured ECs.

ADAMTS18 Features

Like all ADAMTS, ADAMTS18 also has a furin cleavage site that releases mature proteins through the pre-cleavage domain. In addition, ADAMTS18 was cleaved between Arg775 and Ser776 in the spacer region by thrombin to release a C-terminal 45 kDa platelet active fragment comprising the five TSR domains and the PLAC domain at the ends. An N-glycosylated consensus sequence (NVT) was found in its catalytic domain. The strong expression of Adamts18 mRNA in the lens and retina during mouse embryonic development indicates the role of ADAMTS18 in eye development. After thrombin cleavage, ADAMTS18 causes oxidative platelet rupture and platelet-thromb degradation, suggesting that it may play a physiological role in hemostasis.

Figure 1. Interaction between thrombin and ADAMTS-18 in haemostatic balance. (Wei,. et al. 2014)

Wei et al. summarized the interaction of thrombin with ADAMTS-18 in hemostatic balance. Endothelial cells can express ADAMTS-18. Thrombin increases the expression of ADAMTS-18 with the ability to cleave it into 45KD and then activate the C-terminus. When Thrombin promotes platelet aggregation, the C-terminus of ADAMTS-18 is inhibited. Notably, the thrombin cleavage site is located in the spacer region between Arg775 and Ser776.

Data from Peluso et al. suggest that different mutations in ADAMTS18 can be linked to the pathogenesis of different eye diseases, helping to further elucidate the molecular mechanisms of hereditary retinal dystrophy complexity. The Chandra et al. report describes the detailed phenotype of four patients with new homozygous mutations in ADAMTS18. They believe that retinal dystrophy is a key feature of patients with ADAMTS18 mutations. A phenotypic overlap associated with the ADAMTS18 mutation and KNOBLCH syndrome, a rare autosomal recessive disorder associated with the COL18A1 gene mutation.

Preeclampsia is the result of impaired trophoblastic infiltration and spiral artery remodeling, and its etiology and pathophysiology are controlled by the inflammatory response. Eda et al. studied and compared serum molecules between pre-eclampsia and control groups, including IL-33, ADAMTS12, ADAMTS16 and ADAMTS18 levels, and studied the role of these molecules in pre-eclampsia. It was concluded that the expression level of ADAMTS18 in the serum of pre-eclampsia was not significantly different from that of the control group, and pre-eclampsia was considered to be associated with lower serum IL-33 and ADAMTS12 levels.

ADAMTS18 and Tumor

Schell et al. analyzed the polygenic mutations in 468 patients with rectal cancer. The results suggest that the mutation of ADAMTS18 is closely related to the occurrence of rectal cancer. And other studies have also pointed out that ADAMTS18 gene mutation is associated with the occurrence of renal cell carcinoma and colon cancer. In a mouse model, ADAMTS18 expression is down-regulated by β-catenin expression and activation of p38MAPK / ERK1 /2 signaling promotes colon carcinogenesis.

ADAMTS18 and Breast Cancer

Xu et al. found that ADAMTS18 is frequently down-regulated or silenced by promoter methylation in breast cancer cells and primary tissues. ADAMTS18 is methylated in 70.8% of primary breast cancer but not methylated in normal breast tissue, indicating tumor-specific methylation. Demethylation restored the expression of ADAMTS18 in breast cancer cells, suggesting that promoter methylation directly mediates its silencing. The data indicate that ectopic expression of ADAMTS18 inhibits migration and invasion of breast cancer cell lines by down-regulating Akt and NF-κB activity, but has no significant effect on cell proliferation. ADAMTS18 inhibits breast cancer metastasis in vivo. These results indicate that ADAMTS18 acts to inhibit tumors by inhibiting the migration and invasion of breast cancer.

ADAMTS18 and Melanoma

The invasive relationship between ADAMTS18 and melanoma ADAMTS18, also known as ADAMTS 21, HGNC: 16662, etc., is mainly expressed in the heart, skin, brain, and mammary muscle epithelial cells. The ADAMTS18 gene is located in the 16q23 region, which is the most susceptible region of the mutation. Its loss of heterozygosity is closely related to the occurrence of various cancers, so the ADAMTS18 gene is easily mutated. The ADAMTS18 gene often initiates methylation in a variety of tumors, such as esophageal cancer, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, liver cancer, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. This methylation is a driving mechanism for silencing the ADAMTS18 gene, so it is considered to be a novel tumor suppressor gene.

Wei et al. showed that ADAMTS18 gene is highly susceptible to the mutation in melanoma cells, and mutant ADAMTS18 can promote melanoma cell proliferation, migration, and metastasis. The ADAMTS18 product is similar to other members of the family and acts as a secreted protease secreted into ECM. Mutation of ADAMTS18 also affects its cellular localization, resulting in more secreted proteins of ADAMTS18 being retained on the cell surface rather than released into the ECM. At the same time, Wei et al. quantified shRNA by RT-PCR in the cell line knocking out the ADAMTS18 gene. The results showed that the mutated ADAMTS18 is a necessary factor for melanoma cell migration. Therefore, the mutated ADAMTS18 is considered to be a new "promoter" for melanoma development.

Which region of ADAMTS18 can exert tumor suppressive effects is currently unclear. However, a recent study found that its auxiliary area plays an important role in dissolving platelet emboli. The C-terminal helper region may inhibit metastasis by regulating platelet function or may dissolve tumor cell emboli and platelet emboli.


  1. Chandra, A., Arno, G., Williamson, K., Sergouniotis, P. I., Preising, M. N., & Charteris, D. G., et al. (2014). Expansion of ocular phenotypic features associated with mutations in adamts18. Jama Ophthalmol, 132(8), 996-1001.
  2. Peluso, Ivana, Conte, Ivan, Dharmalingam, & Gopuraja, et al. (2013). The adamts18 gene is responsible for autosomal recessive early onset;severe retinal dystrophy. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, 8(1), 16-16.
  3. Eda, G. İ., Özdeğirmenci Ö, Elmas, B., Sarikaya, E., Tokmak, A., & Kazanci, F. H., et al. (2016). Evaluation of adamts12, adamts16, adamts18 and il-33 serum levels in pre-eclampsia. Journal of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, 29(15), 2450-2455.
  4. Xu, H., Xiao, Q., Fan, Y., Xiang, T., Li, C., & Li, C., et al. (2017). Epigenetic silencing of adamts18 promotes cell migration and invasion of breast cancer through akt and nf-κb signaling. Cancer Medicine, 6(6), 1399-1408.
  5. Xu, B., Zhang, L., Luo, C., Qi, Y., Cui, Y., & Ying, J. M., et al. (2015). Hypermethylation of the 16q23.1 tumor suppressor gene adamts18 in clear cell renal cell carcinoma. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 16(1), 1051-1065.
  6. Wei, J., Liu, C., & Li, Z. (2014). Adamts-18: a metalloproteinase with multiple functions. Frontiers in Bioscience, 19, 1456-1467.

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