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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 1999 Jun;10(2):99-117.

Latent transforming growth factor-beta binding proteins (LTBPs)--structural extracellular matrix proteins for targeting TGF-beta action.

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Department of Virology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Growth factors of the transforming growth factor-beta family are potent regulators of the extracellular matrix formation, in addition to their immunomodulatory and regulatory roles for cell growth. TGF-beta s are secreted from cells as latent complexes containing TGF-beta and its propeptide, LAP (latency-associated peptide). In most cells LAP is covalently linked to an additional protein, latent TGF-beta binding protein (LTBP), forming the large latent complex. LTBPs are required for efficient secretion and correct folding of TGF-beta s. The secreted large latent complexes associate covalently with the extracellular matrix via the N-termini of the LTBPs. LTBPs belong to the fibrillin-LTBP family of extracellular matrix proteins, which have a typical repeated domain structure consisting mostly of epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like repeats and characteristic eight cysteine (8-Cys) repeats. Currently four different LTBPs and two fibrillins have been identified. LTBPs contain multiple proteinase sensitive sites, providing means to solubilize the large latent complex from the extracellular matrix structures. LTBPs are now known to exist both as soluble molecules and in association with the extracellular matrix. An important consequence of this is LTBP-mediated deposition and targeting of latent, activatable TGF-beta into extracellular matrices and connective tissues. LTBPs have a dual function, they are required both for the secretion of the small latent TGF-beta complex as well as directing bound latent TGF-beta to extracellular matrix microfibrils. However, it is not known at present whether LTBPs are capable of forming microfibrils independently, or whether they are a part of the fibrillin-containing fibrils. Most LTBPs possess RGD-sequences, which may have a role in their interactions with the cell surface. At least LTBP-1 is chemotactic to smooth muscle cells, and is involved in vascular remodelling. Analyses of the expressed LTBPs have revealed considerable variations throughout the molecules, generated both by alternative splicing and utilization of multiple promoter regions. The significance of this structural diversity is mostly unclear at present.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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