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J Biol Chem. 1995 Dec 15;270(50):29813-8.

Chimeric molecules between keratinocyte growth factor and basic fibroblast growth factor define domains that confer receptor binding specificities.

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Department of Biology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.


Basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) are structurally related fibroblast growth factors, yet they exhibit distinct receptor binding specificity. Basic FGF binds with high affinity to FGFR1, FGFR2, and FGFR4, whereas KGF does not interact with these receptors and can only bind an isoform of FGFR2 known as the KGFR. Basic GFG binds KGFR but with lower affinity than KGF. In order to identify domains that confer this specificity, four reciprocal chimeras were generated between the two growth factors and were analyzed for receptor recognition and biological activity. The chimeras are designated BK1 (bFGF1-54:KGF91-194), BK2 (bFGF1-74:KGF111-194), KB1 (KGF31-90:bFGF55-155), and KB2 (KGF31-110:bFGF75-155). The two BK chimera similarly interacted with FGFR1 and FGFR4 but differed from each other with respect to KGFR recognition. BK1 displayed a slightly better affinity for KGFR than BK2 and induced a higher level of DNA synthesis in keratinocytes compared with bFGF and BK2. A neutralizing monoclonal antibody directed against bFGF specifically neutralized the biological activity of the BK chimeras. The reciprocal chimeras, KB1 and KB2, exhibited KGF-like receptor binding and activation properties. However, KB2 displayed higher affinity for KGFR and was significantly more potent mitogen that KB1. Altogether, our results suggest that the amino-terminal part of KGF and bFGF plays an important role in determining their receptor binding specificity. In addition, the results point to the contribution of a segment from the middle part of KGF (residues 91-110) for recognition and activation of the KGFR, as the two chimeras containing these residues (BK1 and KB2) displayed an enhanced interaction with the KGFR.

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