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J Biomed Biotechnol. 2012;2012:425907. doi: 10.1155/2012/425907. Epub 2012 Jun 4.

Identification of pigment epithelium-derived factor protein forms with distinct activities on tumor cell lines.

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  • 1Section of Protein Structure and Function, LRCMB, National Eye Institute, NEI, Bethesda, MD 20892-0608, USA.



Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) is a multifunctional serpin. The purpose of this study is to identify PEDF protein forms and investigate their biological activities on tumor cell lines.


Recombinant human PEDF proteins were purified by cation- and anion-exchange column chromatography. They were subjected to SDS-PAGE, IEF, deglycosylation, heparin affinity chromatography, and limited proteolysis. Cell viability, real-time electrical impedance of cells, and wound healing assays were performed using bladder and breast cancer cell lines, rat retinal R28, and human ARPE-19 cells.


Two PEDF protein peaks were identified after anion-exchange column chromatography: PEDF-1 eluting with lower ionic strength than PEDF-2. PEDF-1 had higher pI value and lower apparent molecular weight than PEDF-2. Both PEDF forms were glycosylated, bound to heparin, and had identical patterns by limited proteolysis. However, PEDF-2 emerged as being highly potent in lowering cell viability in all tumor cell lines tested, and in inhibiting tumor and ARPE-19 cell migration. In contrast, PEDF-1 minimally affected tumor cell viability and cell migration but protected R28 cells against death caused by serum starvation.


Two distinct biochemical forms of PEDF varying in overall charge have distinct biological effects on tumor cell viability and migration. The existence of PEDF forms may explain the multifunctional modality of PEDF.

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