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J Biol Chem. 2008 Sep 5;283(36):24848-59. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M801433200. Epub 2008 Jul 7.

The proteoglycan brevican binds to fibronectin after proteolytic cleavage and promotes glioma cell motility.

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  • 1Center for Molecular Neurobiology, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


The adult neural parenchyma contains a distinctive extracellular matrix that acts as a barrier to cell and neurite motility. Nonneural tumors that metastasize to the central nervous system almost never infiltrate it and instead displace the neural tissue as they grow. In contrast, invasive gliomas disrupt the extracellular matrix and disperse within the neural tissue. A major inhibitory component of the neural matrix is the lectican family of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, of which brevican is the most abundant member in the adult brain. Interestingly, brevican is also highly up-regulated in gliomas and promotes glioma dispersion by unknown mechanisms. Here we show that brevican secreted by glioma cells enhances cell adhesion and motility only after proteolytic cleavage. At the molecular level, brevican promotes epidermal growth factor receptor activation, increases the expression of cell adhesion molecules, and promotes the secretion of fibronectin and accumulation of fibronectin microfibrils on the cell surface. Moreover, the N-terminal cleavage product of brevican, but not the full-length protein, associates with fibronectin in cultured cells and in surgical samples of glioma. Taken together, our results provide the first evidence of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that may underlie the motility-promoting role of brevican in primary brain tumors. In addition, these results underscore the important functional implications of brevican processing in glioma progression.

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