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Mol Cell Biol. Apr 1996; 16(4): 1326–1334.
PMCID: PMC231116

Cyr61, a product of a growth factor-inducible immediate-early gene, promotes cell proliferation, migration, and adhesion.


cyr61 was first identified as a growth factor-inducible immediate-early gene in mouse fibroblasts. The encoded Cyr61 protein is a secreted, cystein-rich heparin-binding protein that associates with the cell surface and the extracellular matrix, and in these aspects it resembles the Wnt-1 protein and a number of known growth factors. During embryogenesis, cyr61 is expressed most notably in mesenchymal cells that are differentiating into chondrocytes and in the vessel walls of the developing circulatory system. cyr61 is a member of an emerging gene family that encodes growth regulators, including the connective tissue growth factor and an avian proto-oncoprotein, Nov cyr61 also shares sequence similarities with two Drosophila genes, twisted gastrulation and short gastrulation, which interact with decapentaplegic to regulate dorsal-ventral patterning. In this report we describe the purification of the Cyr61 protein in a biologically active form, and we show that purified Cyr61 has the following activities: (i) it promotes the attachment and spreading of endothelial cells in a manner similar to that of fibronectin; (ii) it enhances the effects of basic fibroblast growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor on the rate of DNA synthesis of fibroblasts and vascular endothelial cells, although it has no detectable mitogenic activity by itself; and (iii) it acts as a chemotactic factor for fibroblasts. Taken together, these activities indicate that Cyr61 is likely to function as an extracellular matrix signaling molecule rather than as a classical growth factor and may regulate processes of cell proliferation, migration, adhesion, and differentiation during development.

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