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Nat Cell Biol. 2002 Aug;4(8):599-604.

Connective-tissue growth factor (CTGF) modulates cell signalling by BMP and TGF-beta.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Biological Chemistry, University of California, Riverside, 9095-1662, USA.


Connective-tissue growth factor (CTGF) is a secreted protein implicated in multiple cellular events including angiogenesis, skeletogenesis and wound healing. It is a member of the CCN family of secreted proteins, named after CTGF, cysteine-rich 61 (CYR61), and nephroblastoma overexpressed (NOV) proteins. The molecular mechanism by which CTGF or other CCN proteins regulate cell signalling is not known. CTGF contains a cysteine-rich domain (CR) similar to those found in chordin and other secreted proteins, which in some cases have been reported to function as bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and TGF-beta binding domains. Here we show that CTGF directly binds BMP4 and TGF-beta 1 through its CR domain. CTGF can antagonize BMP4 activity by preventing its binding to BMP receptors and has the opposite effect, enhancement of receptor binding, on TGF-beta 1. These results show that CTGF inhibits BMP and activates TGF-beta signals by direct binding in the extracellular space.

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