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J Biol Chem. 2001 Mar 30;276(13):10443-52. Epub 2000 Dec 18.

The angiogenic factors Cyr61 and connective tissue growth factor induce adhesive signaling in primary human skin fibroblasts.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, 60607-7170, USA.


The angiogenic inducers cysteine-rich angiogenic protein 61 (Cyr61) and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) are structurally related, extracellular matrix-associated heparin-binding proteins. Both can stimulate chemotaxis and promote proliferation in endothelial cells and fibroblasts in culture and induce neovascularization in vivo. Encoded by inducible immediate early genes, Cyr61 and CTGF are synthesized upon growth factor stimulation in cultured fibroblasts and during cutaneous wound healing in dermal fibroblasts. Recently, we have shown that adhesion of primary human fibroblasts to immobilized Cyr61 is mediated through integrin alpha(6)beta(1) and cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) (Chen, N., Chen, C.-C., and Lau, L.F. (2000) J. Biol. Chem. 275, 24953-24961), providing the first demonstration of an absolute requirement for HSPGs in integrin-mediated cell attachment. We show in this study that CTGF also mediates fibroblast adhesion through the same mechanism and demonstrate that fibroblasts adhesion to immobilized Cyr61 or CTGF induces distinct adhesive signaling responses consistent with their biological activities. Compared with fibroblast adhesion to fibronectin, laminin, or type I collagen, cell adhesion to Cyr61 or CTGF induces 1) more extensive and prolonged formation of filopodia and lamellipodia, concomitant with formation of integrin alpha(6)beta(1)-containing focal complexes localized at leading edges of pseudopods; 2) activation of intracellular signaling molecules including focal adhesion kinase, paxillin, and Rac with similar rapid kinetics; 3) sustained activation of p42/p44 MAPKs lasting for at least 9 h; and 4) prolonged gene expression changes including up-regulation of MMP-1 (collagenase-1) and MMP-3 (stromelysin-1) mRNAs and proteins sustained for at least 24 h. Together, these results establish Cyr61 and CTGF as bona fide adhesive substrates with specific signaling capabilities, provide a molecular basis for their activities in fibroblasts through integrin alpha(6)beta(1) and HSPG-mediated signaling during attachment and indicate that these proteins may function in matrix remodeling through the activation of metalloproteinases during angiogenesis and wound healing.

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