Human matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are believed to contribute to tumor progression. Therapies based on inhibiting the catalytic domain of MMPs have been unsuccessful, but these studies raise the question of whether other MMP domains might be appropriate targets. The genetic dissection of domain function has been stymied in mouse because there are 24 related and partially redundant MMP genes in the mouse genome. Here, we present a genetic dissection of the functions of the hemopexin and catalytic domains of a canonical MMP in Drosophila melanogaster, an organism with only 2 MMPs that function nonredundantly. We compare the phenotypes of Mmp1 null alleles with alleles that have specific hemopexin domain lesions, and we also examine phenotypes of dominant-negative mutants. We find that, although the catalytic domain appears to be required for all MMP functions including extracellular matrix remodeling of the tracheal system, the hemopexin domain is required specifically for tissue invasion events later in metamorphosis but not for tracheal remodeling. Thus, we find that this MMP hemopexin domain has an apparent specialization for tissue invasion events, a finding with potential implications for inhibitor therapies.