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Cancer Res. 2001 Dec 1;61(23):8586-94.

Interference of tenascin-C with syndecan-4 binding to fibronectin blocks cell adhesion and stimulates tumor cell proliferation.

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  • 1Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, 4058 Basel, Switzerland.


Tenascin-C is an adhesion-modulatory extracellular matrix molecule that is highly expressed in tumors. To investigate the effect of tenascin-C on tumor cells, we analyzed its antiadhesive nature and effect on tumor cell proliferation in a fibronectin context. Glioblastoma and breast carcinoma cell adhesion was compromised by a mixed fibronectin/tenascin-C substratum, which concomitantly caused increased tumor-cell proliferation. We identified the antiadhesive mechanism as a specific interference of tenascin-C with cell binding to the HepII/syndecan-4 site in fibronectin through direct binding of tenascin-C to the 13th fibronectin type III repeat (FNIII13). Cell adhesion and proliferation levels were restored by the addition of FNIII13. Overexpression of syndecan-4, but not syndecan-1 or -2, reverted the cell adhesion defect of tenascin-C. We characterized FNIII13 as the binding site for syndecan-4. Thus we describe a novel mechanism by which tenascin-C impairs the adhesive function of fibronectin through binding to FNIII13, thereby inhibiting the coreceptor function of syndecan-4 in fibronectin-induced integrin signaling.

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