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J Biol Chem. 1990 May 25;265(15):8716-24.

The core protein of the matrix-associated heparan sulfate proteoglycan binds to fibronectin.

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  • 1Center for Human Genetics, University of Leuven, Belgium.


The extracellular matrix of cultured human lung fibroblasts contains one major heparan sulfate proteoglycan. This proteoglycan contains a 400-kDa core protein and is structurally and immunochemically identical or closely related to the heparan sulfate proteoglycans that occur in basement membranes. Because heparitinase does not release the core protein from the matrix of cultured cells, we investigated the binding interactions of this heparan sulfate proteoglycan with other components of the fibroblast extracellular matrix. Both the intact proteoglycan and the heparitinase-resistant core protein were found to bind to fibronectin. The binding of 125I-labeled core protein to immobilized fibronectin was inhibited by soluble fibronectin and by soluble cold core protein but not by albumin or gelatin. A Scatchard plot indicates a Kd of about 2 x 10(-9) M. Binding of the core protein was also inhibited by high concentrations of heparin, heparan sulfate, or chrondroitin sulfate and was sensitive to high salt concentrations. Thermolysin fragmentation of the 125I-labeled proteoglycan yielded glycosamino-glycan-free core protein fragments of approximately 110 and 62 kDa which bound to both fibronectin and heparin columns. The core protein-binding capacity of fibronectin was very sensitive to proteolysis. Analysis of thermolytic and alpha-chymotryptic fragments of fibronectin showed binding of the intact proteoglycan and of its isolated core protein to a protease-sensitive fragment of 56 kDa which carried the gelatin-binding domain of fibronectin and to a protease-sensitive heparin-binding fragment of 140 kDa. Based on the NH2-terminal amino acid sequence analyses of the 56- and 140-kDa fragments, the core protein-binding domain in fibronectin was tentatively mapped in the area of overlap of the two fragments, carboxyl-terminally from the gelatin-binding domain, possibly in the second type III repeat of fibronectin. These data document a specific and high affinity interaction between fibronectin and the core protein of the matrix heparan sulfate proteoglycan which may anchor the proteoglycan in the matrix.

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