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J Cell Sci. 1999 Oct;112 ( Pt 19):3225-35.

The amino-terminal matrix assembly domain of fibronectin stabilizes cell shape and prevents cell cycle progression.

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  • 1Cell and Molecular Biology Program and the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, Neil Hellman Medical Research Building, Albany Medical College (MC-134), Albany, New York 12208, USA.


Adhesion to the extracellular matrix modulates the cellular response to growth factors and is critical for cell cycle progression. The present study was designed to address the relationship between fibronectin matrix assembly and cell shape or shape dependent cellular processes. The binding of fibronectin's amino-terminal matrix assembly domain to adherent cells represents the initial step in the assembly of exogenous fibronectin into the extracellular matrix. When added to monolayers of pulmonary artery endothelial cells, the 70 kDa fragment of fibronectin (which contains the matrix assembly domain) stabilized both the extracellular fibronectin matrix as well as the actin cytoskeleton against cytochalasin D-mediated structural reorganization. This activity appeared to require specific fibronectin sequences as fibronectin fragments containing the cell adhesion domain as well as purified vitronectin were ineffective inhibitors of cytochalasin D-induced cytoarchitectural restructuring. Such pronounced morphologic consequences associated with exposure to the 70 kDa fragment suggested that this region of the fibronectin molecule may affect specific growth traits known to be influenced by cell shape. To assess this possibility, the 70 kDa fragment was added to scrape-wounded monolayers of bovine microvessel endothelium and the effects on two shape-dependent processes (i.e. migration and proliferation) were measured as a function of time after injury and location from the wound. The addition of amino-terminal fragments of fibronectin to the monolayer significantly inhibited (by >50%) wound closure. Staining of wounded monolayers with BrdU, moreover, indicated that either the 70 kDa or 25 kDa amino-terminal fragments of fibronectin, but not the 40 kDa collagen binding fragment, also inhibited cell cycle progression. These results suggest that the binding of fibronectin's amino-terminal region to endothelial cell layers inhibits cell cycle progression by stabilizing cell shape.

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