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Mol Biol Cell. 2000 Aug;11(8):2691-704.

Specific sequence motif of 8-Cys repeats of TGF-beta binding proteins, LTBPs, creates a hydrophobic interaction surface for binding of small latent TGF-beta.

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  • 1Departments of Virology and Pathology, The Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Transforming growth factor (TGF)-betas are secreted in large latent complexes consisting of TGF-beta, its N-terminal latency-associated peptide (LAP) propeptide, and latent TGF-beta binding protein (LTBP). LTBPs are required for secretion and subsequent deposition of TGF-beta into the extracellular matrix. TGF-beta1 associates with the 3(rd) 8-Cys repeat of LTBP-1 by LAP. All LTBPs, as well as fibrillins, contain multiple 8-Cys repeats. We analyzed the abilities of fibrillins and LTBPs to bind latent TGF-beta by their 8-Cys repeats. 8-Cys repeat was found to interact with TGF-beta1*LAP by direct cysteine bridging. LTBP-1 and LTBP-3 bound efficiently all TGF-beta isoforms, LTBP-4 had a much weaker binding capacity, whereas LTBP-2 as well as fibrillins -1 and -2 were negative. A short, specific TGF-beta binding motif was identified in the TGF-beta binding 8-Cys repeats. Deletion of this motif in the 3(rd) 8-Cys repeat of LTBP-1 resulted in loss of TGF-beta*LAP binding ability, while its inclusion in non-TGF-beta binding 3(rd) 8-Cys repeat of LTBP-2 resulted in TGF-beta binding. Molecular modeling of the 8-Cys repeats revealed a hydrophobic interaction surface and lack of three stabilizing hydrogen bonds introduced by the TGF-beta binding motif necessary for the formation of the TGF-beta*LAP - 8-Cys repeat complex inside the cells.

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