Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a family of proteases that are required for many biological processes and are also elevated in many pathological conditions. MMP inhibitors (MMPIs) may therefore be useful as therapeutic agents in treating a number of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases and arthritis. Attempts have been made to develop MMPIs. Recombinant MMPs have been used to screening MMPs in vitro assays. In this work, we report the expression of MMP-16 in E. coli and the characterization of the recombinant MMP-16 with a commonly used MMP substrate DQ-gelatin.