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Biochemistry. 2000 May 23;39(20):5977-87.

Monomeric midkine induces tumor cell proliferation in the absence of cell-surface proteoglycan binding.

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Department of Medicine, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029-6574, USA.


Midkine (MK), a retinoic acid-inducible heparin-binding protein, is a mitogen which initiates a cascade of intracellular protein tyrosine phosphorylation mediated by the JAK/STAT pathway after binding to its high affinity p200(+)/MKR cell surface receptor in the G401 cell line [Ratovitski, E. A. (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 273, 3654-3660]. In this study, we determined the biophysical characteristics of purified recombinant murine MK and analyzed the requirements for ligand multimerization and cell surface proteoglycan binding for the G401 cell mitogenic activity of MK. Our studies indicate that the secreted form of MK (M = 13 kDa) exists in solution as an asymmetric monomer with a frictional coefficient of 1. 48 and a Stokes radius of 23.7 A. By constructing bead models of MK using the program AtoB and the program HYDRO to predict the hydrodynamic properties of each model, our data suggest that MK has a dumb-bell shape in solution composed of independent N- and C-terminal domains separated by an extended linker. This asymmetric MK monomer is a biologically active ligand with mitogenic activity on G401 cells in vitro. Neither heparin-induced formation of noncovalent MK multimers nor tissue transglutaminase II covalent multimerization of MK enhanced MK mitogenic activity in this system. Since neither heparin competition nor cell treatment with chondroitinase ABC or heparinase III abolished the mitogenic effects of MK on G401 cells, cell-surface proteoglycan binding by MK does not appear to be a requirement for its observed mitogenic effects. These results provide strong evidence that the MK-specific p200(+)/MKR has distinctive biochemical properties which distinguish it from the receptor tyrosine phosphatase cell-surface proteoglycan PTPzeta/RPTPbeta and support the hypothesis that the diverse biological effects of MK are mediated by multiple cell-specific signal transduction receptors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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