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J Biol Chem. 1987 Mar 5;262(7):2957-67.

Fibronectin's cell-adhesive domain and an amino-terminal matrix assembly domain participate in its assembly into fibroblast pericellular matrix.


Fibroblasts organize the modular cell-adhesive glycoprotein fibronectin into a highly structured pericellular matrix by poorly understood mechanisms. Previous studies implicated an amino-terminal domain in matrix assembly and suggested that fibronectin's cell-adhesive domain and the corresponding fibroblast receptor were not involved in this process. To further elucidate the fibronectin region(s) involved in matrix assembly, we mapped a library of proteolytic fragments and antibodies to various fibronectin domains. The fragments and antibodies were used to probe the role of fibronectin's amino-terminal and cell-adhesive domains in a fibroblast matrix assembly assay. We found that fibronectin fragments including the first 25-kDa sequence of fibronectin and antibodies to amino-terminal domains inhibited pericellular matrix assembly. Polyclonal antibodies to the 40-kDa collagen binding domain following the 25-kDa amino-terminal domain also inhibited matrix assembly. However, collagen binding is not required for matrix assembly as neither monoclonals blocking collagen binding nor purified collagen binding domains themselves inhibited matrix assembly. Therefore, the amino-terminal region of fibronectin contains a site important in matrix assembly, and most activity is present in the first 25-kDa of fibronectin. Fibronectin's cell-adhesive domain and the fibroblast receptor binding to this domain also play an important role in fibronectin matrix assembly. Apart from a monoclonal antibody to the amino-terminal domain, only monoclonal antibodies binding to fibronectin's cell-adhesive domain and inhibiting cell adhesion also inhibited matrix assembly. In addition a 105-kDa fragment containing the cell-adhesive domain inhibited matrix assembly. We conclude that at least two discrete and widely separated sites in fibronectin with different binding properties--the carboxyl-terminal fibroblast cell-adhesive domain and an amino-terminal matrix assembly domain localized primarily within the first 25 kDa--are required for fibronectin pericellular matrix assembly by fibroblasts. Fibronectin's cell-adhesive domain and its cell surface-receptor complex appear to be involved in the matrix assembly process prior to a step involving the amino-terminal domain. We believe that this step is likely to be the initiation of cell-associated fibronectin fibril formation by the fibronectin-adhesive-receptor complex.

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