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Biochem J. Sep 1, 1994; 302(Pt 2): 527–534.
PMCID: PMC1137259

Interaction of the small interstitial proteoglycans biglycan, decorin and fibromodulin with transforming growth factor beta.


We have analysed the interactions of three proteoglycans of the decorin family, decorin, biglycan and fibromodulin, with transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta). The proteoglycan core proteins, expressed from human cDNAs as fusion proteins with Escherichia coli maltose-binding protein, each bound TGF-beta 1. They showed only negligible binding to several other growth factors. Intact decorin, biglycan and fibromodulin isolated from bovine tissues competed with the fusion proteins for the TGF-beta binding. Affinity measurements suggest a two-site binding model with Kd values ranging from 1 to 20 nM for a high-affinity binding site and 50 to 200 nM for the lower-affinity binding site. The stoichiometry indicated that the high-affinity binding site was present in one of ten proteoglycan core molecules and that each molecule contained a low-affinity binding site. Tissue-derived biglycan and decorin were less effective competitors for TGF-beta binding than fibromodulin or the non-glycosylated fusion proteins; removal of the chondroitin/dermatan sulphate chains of decorin and biglycan (fibromodulin is a keratan sulphate proteoglycan) increased the activities of decorin and biglycan, suggesting that the glycosaminoglycan chains may hinder the interaction of the core proteins with TGF-beta. The fusion proteins competed for the binding of radiolabelled TGF-beta to Mv 1 Lu cells and endothelial cells. Affinity labelling showed that the binding of TGF-beta to betaglycan and the type-I receptors in Mv 1 Lu cells and to endoglin in endothelial cells was reduced, but the binding to the type-II receptors was unaffected. TGF-beta 2 and 3 also bound to all three fusion proteins. Latent recombinant TGF-beta 1 precursor bound slightly to fibromodulin and not at all to decorin and biglycan. The results show that the three decorin-type proteoglycans each bind TGF-beta isoforms and that slight differences exist in their binding properties. They may regulate TGF-beta activities by sequestering TGF-beta into extracellular matrix.

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