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J Biol Chem. 2001 Dec 14;276(50):47329-37. Epub 2001 Oct 2.

The angiogenic factor Cyr61 activates a genetic program for wound healing in human skin fibroblasts.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, 900 South Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60607-7170, USA.


Cyr61 is a heparin-binding, extracellular matrix-associated protein of the CCN family, which also includes connective tissue growth factor, Nov, WISP-1, WISP-2, and WISP-3. Cyr61 is capable of multiple functions, including induction of angiogenesis in vivo. Purified Cyr61 mediates cell adhesion and induces adhesive signaling, stimulates cell migration, enhances cell proliferation, and promotes cell survival in both fibroblasts and endothelial cells. In this study, we have used cDNA array hybridization to identify genes regulated by Cyr61 in primary human skin fibroblasts. The Cyr61-regulated genes fall into several groups known to participate in processes important for cutaneous wound healing, including: 1) angiogenesis and lymphogenesis (VEGF-A and VEGF-C); 2) inflammation (interleukin-1beta); 3) extracellular matrix remodeling (MMP1, MMP3, TIMP1, uPA, and PAI-1); and 4) cell-matrix interactions (Col1alpha1, Col1alpha2, and integrins alpha(3) and alpha(5)). Cyr61-mediated gene expression requires heparin binding activity of Cyr61, cellular de novo transcription, and protein synthesis and is largely dependent on the activation of p42/p44 MAPKs. Cyr61 regulates gene expression not only in serum-free medium but also in fibroblasts cultured on various matrix proteins or in the presence of 10% serum. These effects of Cyr61 can be sustained for at least 5 days, consistent with the time course of wound healing in vivo. Interestingly, Cyr61 can interact with transforming growth factor-beta1 to regulate expression of specific genes in an antagonistic, additive, or synergistic manner. Furthermore, we show that the Cyr61 gene is highly induced in dermal fibroblasts of granulation tissue during cutaneous wound repair. Together, these results show that Cyr61 is inducibly expressed in granulation tissues after wounding and that Cyr61 activates a genetic program for wound repair in skin fibroblasts. We propose a model in which Cyr61 integrates its activities on endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and macrophages to regulate the processes of angiogenesis, inflammation, and matrix remodeling in the context of cutaneous wound healing.

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