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Mol Biol Cell. 1994 Apr;5(4):439-53.

The extracellular matrix ligands fibronectin and tenascin collaborate in regulating collagenase gene expression in fibroblasts.

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  • 1Laboratory of Radiobiology and Environmental Health, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0750.


Tenascin (TN) is a large oligomeric glycoprotein that is present transiently in the extracellular matrix (ECM) of cells and is involved in morphogenetic movements, tissue patterning, and tissue repair. It has multiple domains, both adhesive and anti-adhesive, that interact with cells and with fibronectin (FN) and other ECM macromolecules. We have studied the consequences of the interaction of TN with a FN matrix on gene expression in rabbit synovial fibroblasts. Fibroblasts plated on a mixed substrate of FN and TN, but not on FN alone, upregulated synthesis of four genes: collagenase, stromelysin, the 92-kDa gelatinase, and c-fos. Although the fibroblasts spread well on both FN and FN/TN substrates, nuclear c-Fos increased within 1 h only in cells that were plated on FN/TN. TN did not induce the expression of collagenase in cells plated on substrates of type I collagen or vitronectin (VN). Moreover, soluble TN added to cells adhering to a FN substrate or to serum proteins had no effect, suggesting that TN has an effect only in the context of mixed substrates of FN and TN. Collagenase increased within 4 h of plating on a FN/TN substrate and exhibited kinetics similar to those for induction of collagenase gene expression by signaling through the integrin FN receptor. Arg-Gly-Asp peptide ligands that recognize either the FN receptor or the VN receptor and function-perturbing anti-integrin monoclonal antibodies diminished the interaction of fibroblasts with a mixed substrate of FN, TN, and VN, but had no effect on the adhesion of fibroblasts to a substrate of FN and VN, suggesting that both receptors recognize the complex. Anti-TN68, an antibody that recognizes an epitope in the carboxyl-terminal type III repeats involved in the interaction of TN with both FN and cells, blocked the inductive effect of the FN/TN substrate, whereas anti-TNM1, an antibody that recognizes an epitope in the amino-terminal anti-adhesive region of epidermal growth factor-like repeats, had no effect. These data suggest that transient alteration of the composition of ECM by addition of proteins like TN may regulate the expression of genes involved in cell migration, tissue remodeling, and tissue invasion, in regions of tissue undergoing phenotypic changes.

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