19 members of this family have been identified in humans, the first of which, ADAMTS1, was described in 1997.
Known functions of the ADAMTS proteases include processing of procollagens and von Willebrand factor as well as cleavage of aggrecan, versican, brevican and neurocan, making them key remodeling enzymes of the extracellular matrix. They have been demonstrated to have important roles in connective tissue organization, coagulation, inflammation, arthritis, angiogenesis and cell migration.
Homologous subfamily of ADAMTSL (ADAMTS-like) proteins, which lack enzymatic activity, has also been described.
Like ADAMs, the name of the ADAMTS family refers to its disintegrin and metalloproteinase activity, and in the case of ADAMTS, the presence of a thrombospondin motif.