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Biochemistry. 2005 Sep 13;44(36):12203-13.

Identification of common and specific growth factor binding sites in heparan sulfate proteoglycans.

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Department of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA.


The structural complexity within heparan sulfate has suggested that it contains multiple protein-specific binding sites. To evaluate the selectivity of growth factor binding to heparan sulfate, we conducted a detailed study of the intercompetition of fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) and heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) binding to heparan sulfate (HS) on bovine aortic smooth muscle cells. Radioligand binding assays were conducted, and an analytical method was developed for determining the apparent binding constants and numbers of specific and shared binding sites within HS. These studies revealed the presence of two general classes of HS-binding sites for FGF-2 and HB-EGF. The major class (approximately 10(6) sites per cell) was able to bind to either growth factor with relatively low affinity (K(d) = 12 and 44 nM for FGF-2 and HB-EGF, respectively) and was termed "common" binding sites. However, both FGF-2 and HB-EGF also showed specific high affinity (0.6 and 6.1 nM for FGF-2 and HB-EGF, respectively) binding to a minor subset (118,000 and 28,000 sites per cell for FGF-2 and HB-EGF, respectively) of "unique" binding sites, which were unable to bind the other growth factor. These studies indicate that growth factor binding to HS involves multiple binding sites of variable affinity, density, and selectivity. The approach outlined in this study could be applied to aid in the evaluation of the relative biological roles of these selective and nonselective growth factor binding domains within HS.

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