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J Biol Chem. 1998 Nov 6;273(45):29635-40.

SPARC (BM-40, osteonectin) inhibits the mitogenic effect of vascular endothelial growth factor on microvascular endothelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Biological Structure, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington 98195-7420, USA.


SPARC (secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine) is a matricellular protein that modulates cell adhesion and proliferation and is thought to function in tissue remodeling and angiogenesis. In this study, we demonstrate that SPARC inhibits DNA synthesis by >90% in human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC) stimulated by the endothelial cell mitogen vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Peptides derived from SPARC domain IV, which contains a disulfide-bonded EF-hand sequence and binds to endothelial cells, mimicked the effect of native SPARC. The inhibition was also observed with a peptide from the follistatin-like domain II, whereas peptides from SPARC domains I and III had no effect on VEGF-stimulated DNA synthesis. The inhibition of HMEC proliferation was mediated in part by the binding of VEGF to SPARC. The binding of 125I-VEGF to HMEC was reduced by SPARC and SPARC peptides from domain IV in a concentration-dependent manner. In a radioimmune precipitation assay, peptides from SPARC domains II and IV each competed with native SPARC for its binding to VEGF. It has been reported that VEGF stimulates the tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases Erk1 and Erk2. We now show that SPARC reduces this phosphorylation in VEGF-stimulated HMEC to levels of unstimulated controls. SPARC thus modulates the mitogenic activity of VEGF through a direct binding interaction and reduces the association of VEGF with its cell-surface receptors. Moreover, an additional diminution of VEGF activity by SPARC is accomplished through a reduction in the tyrosine phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases.

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