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Biochemistry. 1993 May 25;32(20):5480-9.

Nature of the interaction of heparin with acidic fibroblast growth factor.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Research, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, Pennsylvania 19486.


The binding of human acidic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF) to heparin has been analyzed by a variety of different approaches to better elucidate the nature of this protein/sulfated polysaccharide interaction. Static and dynamic light scattering as well as analytical ultracentrifugation analyses indicates that 14-15 molecules of a FGF can bind to a 16-kDa heparin chain, with approximately 10 of these bound relatively uniformly to high-affinity sites. The dissociation constants of these latter sites are estimated to be approximately 50-140 nM on the basis of surface plasmon resonance experiments in which the association and dissociation rates of aFGF interaction with immobilized heparin were measured. The size of the binding site of a FGF on heparin was also determined by heparin lyase digestion of a FGF/heparin complexes followed by isolation and characterization of protected oligosaccharides. The smallest aFGF-protected oligosaccharide comigrated with delta UA2S(1-->4)-alpha-D-GlcNp2S6S(1-->4)-alpha-L-IdoAp-2S( 1-->4)-alpha-D-GlcNp2S6S (where delta UA represents 4-deoxy-alpha-L-threo-hex-4-enopyranosyluronic acid and S is sulfate). Thus, aFGF appears to bind at high density (one molecule every 4-5 polysaccharide units) and with high affinity to heparin. This potentially provides a concentrated, stabilized storage form of the growth factor that can be released for receptor-mediated cellular activation in response to the proper stimuli. It is also possible that close proximity of aFGF molecules on the highly sulfated regions of heparan chains may be involved in the induction of receptor aggregation as suggested by Ornitz et al. [Ornitz, D. M., Yayon, A., Flanagan, J. G., Svahn, C. M., Levi, E., & Leder, P. (1992) Mol. Cell. Biol. 12, 240-247].

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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