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Matrix Biology
Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): Thomas H. Barker, Adam J. Engler

Since its conceptualization in the 1980s, the provisional matrix has often been characterized as a simple fibrin-containing scaffold for wound healing that supports the nascent blood clot and is functionally distinct from the basement membrane. However subsequent advances have shown that this matrix is far from passive, with distinct compositional differences as the wound matures, and providing an active role for wound remodeling. Here we review the stages of this matrix, provide an update on the state of our understanding of provisional matrix, and present some of the outstanding issues related to the provisional matrix, its components, and their assembly and use in vivo.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): Russell F. Doolittle

The conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin is a process that has long fascinated an army of researchers. In this brief review some early break-through observations are noted and a few later unexpected results described.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): Cédric Duval, Robert A.S. Ariëns

Fibrin is an important matrix protein that provides the backbone to the blood clot, promoting tissue repair and wound healing. Its precursor fibrinogen is one of the most heterogeneous proteins, with an estimated 1 million different forms due to alterations in glycosylation, oxidation, single nucleotide polymorphisms, splice variation and other variations. Furthermore, ligation by transglutaminase factor XIII (cross-linking) adds to the complexity of the fibrin network. The structure and function of the fibrin network is in part determined by this natural variation in the fibrinogen molecule, with major effects from splice variation and cross-linking. This mini-review will discuss the direct effects of fibrinogen αEC and fibrinogen γ′ splice variation on clot structure and function and also discuss the additional role of fibrinogen γ′ as thrombomodulin II. Furthermore, the effects of cross-linking on clot function will be described. Splice variation and cross-linking are major determinants of the structure and function of fibrin and may therefore impact on diseases affecting bleeding, thrombosis and tissue repair.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): H. Toinét Cronjé, Cornelie Nienaber-Rousseau, Lizelle Zandberg, Tinashe Chikowore, Zelda de Lange, Tertia van Zyl, Marlien Pieters

Fibrinogen and its functional aspects have been linked to cardiovascular disease. There is vast discrepancy between the heritability of fibrinogen concentrations observed in twin studies and the heritability uncovered by genome wide association studies. We postulate that some of the missing heritability might be explained by the pleiotropic and polygenic co-regulation of fibrinogen through multiple targeted genes, apart from the fibrinogen genes themselves. To this end we investigated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes coding for phenotypes associated with total and γ′ fibrinogen concentrations and clot properties. Their individual and accumulative associations with the fibrinogen variables were explored together with possible co-regulatory processes as a result of the gain and loss of transcription factor binding sites (TFBS). Seventy-eight SNPs spanning the APOB, APOE, CBS, CRP, F13A1, FGA, FGB, FGG, LDL-R, MTHFR, MTR, PCSK-9 and SERPINE-1 genes were included in the final analysis. A novel PCSK-9 SNP (rs369066144) was identified in this population, which associated significantly (p=0.04) with clot lysis time (CLT). Apart from SNPs in the fibrinogen (FGA, FGB and FGG) and FXIII (F13A1) genes, the fibrinogen phenotypes were also associated with SNPs in genes playing a role in lipid homeostasis (LDL-R, PCSK-9) together with CBS and CRP polymorphisms (particularly, CRP-rs3093068). The genetic risk scores, presenting accumulative genetic risk, were significantly associated (p0.007) with total and γ′ fibrinogen concentrations, lag time, slope and CLT, highlighting the importance of a polygenetic approach in determining complex phenotypes. SNPs significantly associated with the fibrinogen phenotypes, resulted in a total of 75 TFBS changes, of which 35 resulted in a loss and 40 in a gain of TFBS. In terms of co-regulation, V$IRF4.02, V$E2FF and V$HIFF were of particular importance. The investigation into TFBS provided valuable insight as to how sequence divergences in seemingly unrelated genes can result in transcriptional co-regulation of the fibrinogen phenotypes. The observed associations between the identified SNPs and the fibrinogen phenotypes therefore do not imply direct effects on cardiovascular disease outcomes, but may prove useful in explaining more of the genetic regulation of the investigated fibrinogen phenotypes.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): Alicia J. Zollinger, Michael L. Smith

Fibronectin is an extracellular matrix protein that is present during periods of change within tissues. It is upregulated and necessary in a number of developmental contexts, and it is also present during pathological progression of tissues and during wound healing. Thus, it has been studied in a broad number of contexts from basic science to pathology. One of the unique features of fibronectin is its ability to specifically bind a large number of molecules including other components of the extracellular matrix, signaling molecules, and cell adhesion molecules. Cellular interactions with fibronectin lead to bidirectional crosstalk that directs cell function and also leads to cell-dependent changes in the extracellular matrix. Interestingly, fibronectin exists in a functional form composed of fibers that are nm to μm in diameter that is highly interwoven, and fibronectin molecules that constitute this material have a labile molecular conformation that can be altered through binding of allosteric partners and strain resulting from application of cell contractile forces. This review focuses on summarizing the many binding partners for fibronectin such as ECM proteins, growth factors, and synthetic binding partners with a particular interest in binding partners whose adhesiveness is impacted by the molecular conformation of the fibronectin fibers.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): Thomas N. Wight

Hyaluronan and versican are extracellular matrix (ECM) components that are enriched in the provisional matrices that form during the early stages of development and disease. These two molecules interact to create pericellular “coats” and “open space” that facilitate cell sorting, proliferation, migration, and survival. Such complexes also impact the recruitment of leukocytes during development and in the early stages of disease. Once thought to be inert components of the ECM that help hold cells together, it is now quite clear that they play important roles in controlling cell phenotype, shaping tissue response to injury and maintaining tissue homeostasis. Conversion of hyaluronan-/versican-enriched provisional matrix to collagen-rich matrix is a “hallmark” of tissue fibrosis. Targeting the hyaluronan and versican content of provisional matrices in a variety of diseases including, cardiovascular disease and cancer, is becoming an attractive strategy for intervention.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): Sandeep Gopal, Hinke A.B. Multhaupt, Roger Pocock, John R. Couchman

Cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) and cell-cell junctions that employ microfilaments are sites of tension. They are important for tissue repair, morphogenetic movements and can be emblematic of matrix contraction in fibrotic disease and the stroma of solid tumors. One cell surface receptor, syndecan-4, has been shown to regulate focal adhesions, junctions that form at the ends of microfilament bundles in response to matrix components such as fibronectin. Recently it has been shown that signaling emanating from this proteoglycan receptor includes regulation of Rho family GTPases and cytosolic calcium. While it is known that cell-ECM and cell-cell junctions may be linked, possible roles for syndecans in this process are not understood. Here we show that wild type primary fibroblasts and those lacking syndecan-4 utilize different cadherins in their adherens junctions and that tension is a major factor in this differential response. This corresponds to the reduced ability of fibroblasts lacking syndecan-4 to exert tension on the ECM and we now show that this may extend to reduced tension in cell-cell adhesion.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): Yunfeng Chen, Hyunjung Lee, Haibin Tong, Martin Schwartz, Cheng Zhu

Integrins mediate cell adhesion to extracellular matrix and transduce signals bidirectionally across the membrane. Integrin αVβ3 has been shown to play an essential role in tumor metastasis, angiogenesis, hemostasis and phagocytosis. Integrins can take several conformations, including the bent and extended conformations of the ectodomain, which regulate integrin functions. Using a biomembrane force probe, we characterized the bending and unbending conformational changes of single αVβ3 integrins on living cell surfaces in real-time. We measured the probabilities of conformational changes, rates and speeds of conformational transitions, and the dynamic equilibrium between the two conformations, which were regulated by tensile force, dependent on the ligand, and altered by point mutations. These findings provide insights into how αVβ3 acts as a molecular machine and how its physiological function and molecular structure are coupled at the single‐molecule level.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): Karin Wang, Fei Wu, Bo Ri Seo, Claudia Fischbach, Weisi Chen, Lauren Hsu, Delphine Gourdon

Breast cancer cells recruit surrounding stromal cells, such as cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), to remodel their extracellular matrix (ECM) and promote invasive tumor growth. Two major ECM components, fibronectin (Fn) and collagen I (Col I), are known to interact with each other to regulate cellular behavior. In this study, we seek to understand how Fn and Col I interplay and promote a dysregulated signaling pathway to facilitate tumor progression. Specifically, we investigated the evolution of tumor-conditioned stromal ECM composition, structure, and relaxation. Furthermore, we assessed how evolving Fn-Col I interactions gradually affected pro-angiogenic signaling. Our data first indicate that CAFs initially assembled a strained, viscous, and unfolded Fn matrix. This early altered Fn matrix was later remodeled into a thick Col I-rich matrix that was characteristic of a dense tumor mass. Next, our results suggest that this ECM remodeling was primarily mediated by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). This MMP activity caused profound structural and mechanical changes in the developing ECM, which then modified vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion by CAFs and matrix sequestration. Collectively, these findings enhance our understanding of the mechanisms by which Fn and Col I synergistically interplay in promoting a sustained altered signaling cascade to remodel the breast tumor stroma for invasive breast tumor growth.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): Woojin M. Han, Young C. Jang, Andrés J. García

Regeneration of traumatically injured skeletal muscles is severely limited. Moreover, the regenerative capacity of skeletal muscle declines with aging, further exacerbating the problem. Recent evidence supports that delivery of muscle satellite cells to the injured muscles enhances muscle regeneration and reverses features of aging, including reduction in muscle mass and regenerative capacity. However, direct delivery of satellite cells presents a challenge at a translational level due to inflammation and donor cell death, motivating the need to develop engineered matrices for muscle satellite cell delivery. This review will highlight important aspects of satellite cell and their niche biology in the context of muscle regeneration, and examine recent progresses in the development of engineered cell delivery matrices designed for skeletal muscle regeneration. Understanding the interactions of muscle satellite cells and their niche in both native and engineered systems is crucial to developing muscle pathology-specific cell- and biomaterial-based therapies.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): Rustem I. Litvinov, John W. Weisel

Fibrin is a protein polymer that is essential for hemostasis and thrombosis, wound healing, and several other biological functions and pathological conditions that involve extracellular matrix. In addition to molecular and cellular interactions, fibrin mechanics has been recently shown to underlie clot behavior in the highly dynamic intra- and extravascular environments. Fibrin has both elastic and viscous properties. Perhaps the most remarkable rheological feature of the fibrin network is an extremely high elasticity and stability despite very low protein content. Another important mechanical property that is common to many filamentous protein polymers but not other polymers is stiffening occurring in response to shear, tension, or compression. New data has begun to provide a structural basis for the unique mechanical behavior of fibrin that originates from its complex multi-scale hierarchical structure. The mechanical behavior of the whole fibrin gel is governed largely by the properties of single fibers and their ensembles, including changes in fiber orientation, stretching, bending, and buckling. The properties of individual fibrin fibers are determined by the number and packing arrangements of double-stranded half-staggered protofibrils, which still remain poorly understood. It has also been proposed that forced unfolding of sub-molecular structures, including elongation of flexible and relatively unstructured portions of fibrin molecules, can contribute to fibrin deformations. In spite of a great increase in our knowledge of the structural mechanics of fibrin, much about the mechanisms of fibrin's biological functions remains unknown. Fibrin deformability is not only an essential part of the biomechanics of hemostasis and thrombosis, but also a rapidly developing field of bioengineering that uses fibrin as a versatile biomaterial with exceptional and tunable biochemical and mechanical properties.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): Daniel Chester, Ashley C. Brown

Wound healing is a complex, dynamic process required for maintaining homeostasis in an organism. Along with being controlled biochemically, wound healing is also controlled through the transduction of biophysical stimuli through cell interactions with the extracellular matrix (ECM). This review provides an overview of the ECM's role in the wound healing process and subsequently expands on the variety of roles biophysical phenomenon play.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): O.V. Kim, R.I. Litvinov, J. Chen, D.Z. Chen, J.W. Weisel, M.S. Alber

Fibrin and collagen as well as their combinations play an important biological role in tissue regeneration and are widely employed in surgery as fleeces or sealants and in bioengineering as tissue scaffolds. Earlier studies demonstrated that fibrin-collagen composite networks displayed improved tensile mechanical properties compared to the isolated protein matrices. Unlike previous studies, here unconfined compression was applied to a fibrin-collagen filamentous polymer composite matrix to study its structural and mechanical responses to compressive deformation. Combining collagen with fibrin resulted in formation of a composite hydrogel exhibiting synergistic mechanical properties compared to the isolated fibrin and collagen matrices. Specifically, the composite matrix revealed a one order of magnitude increase in the shear storage modulus at compressive strains>0.8 in response to compression compared to the mechanical features of individual components. These material enhancements were attributed to the observed structural alterations, such as network density changes, an increase in connectivity along with criss-crossing, and bundling of fibers. In addition, the compressed composite collagen/fibrin networks revealed a non-linear transformation of their viscoelastic properties with softening and stiffening regimes. These transitions were shown to depend on protein concentrations. Namely, a decrease in protein content drastically affected the mechanical response of the networks to compression by shifting the onset of stiffening to higher degrees of compression. Since both natural and artificially composed extracellular matrices experience compression in various (patho)physiological conditions, our results provide new insights into the structural biomechanics of the polymeric composite matrix that can help to create fibrin-collagen sealants, sponges, and tissue scaffolds with tunable and predictable mechanical properties.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): Lauren A. Griggs, Nadiah T. Hassan, Roshni S. Malik, Brian P. Griffin, Brittany A. Martinez, Lynne W. Elmore, Christopher A. Lemmon

Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) is a dynamic process through which epithelial cells transdifferentiate from an epithelial phenotype into a mesenchymal phenotype. Previous studies have demonstrated that both mechanical signaling and soluble growth factor signaling facilitate this process. One possible point of integration for mechanical and growth factor signaling is the extracellular matrix. Here we investigate the role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) protein fibronectin (FN) in this process. We demonstrate that inhibition of FN fibrillogenesis blocks activation of the Transforming Growth Factor-Beta (TGF-β) signaling pathway via Smad2 signaling, decreases cell migration and ultimately leads to inhibition of EMT. Results show that soluble FN, FN fibrils, or increased contractile forces are insufficient to independently induce EMT. We further demonstrate that inhibition of latent TGF-β1 binding to FN fibrils via either a monoclonal blocking antibody against the growth factor binding domain of FN or through use of a FN deletion mutant that lacks the growth factor binding domains of FN blocks EMT progression, indicating a novel role for FN in EMT in which the assembly of FN fibrils serves to localize TGF-β1 signaling to drive EMT.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): Greg M. Harris, Nicolas N. Madigan, Karen Z. Lancaster, Lynn W. Enquist, Anthony J. Windebank, Jeffrey Schwartz, Jean E. Schwarzbauer

Spinal cord and peripheral nerve injuries require the regeneration of nerve fibers across the lesion site for successful recovery. Providing guidance cues and soluble factors to promote neurite outgrowth and cell survival can enhance repair. The extracellular matrix (ECM) plays a key role in tissue repair by controlling cell adhesion, motility, and growth. In this study, we explored the ability of a mesenchymal ECM to support neurite outgrowth from neurons in the superior cervical ganglia (SCG). Length and morphology of neurites extended on a decellularized fibroblast ECM were compared to those on substrates coated with laminin, a major ECM protein in neural tissue, or fibronectin, the main component of a mesenchymal ECM. Average radial neurite extension was equivalent on laminin and on the decellularized ECM, but contrasted with the shorter, curved neurites observed on the fibronectin substrate. Differences between neurites on fibronectin and on other substrates were confirmed by fast Fourier transform analyses. To control the direction of neurite outgrowth, we developed an ECM with linearly aligned fibril organization by orienting the fibroblasts that deposit the matrix on a polymeric surface micropatterned with a striped chemical interface. Neurites projected from SCGs appeared to reorient in the direction of the pattern. These results highlight the ability of a mesenchymal ECM to enhance neurite extension and to control the directional outgrowth of neurites. This micropatterned decellularized ECM architecture has potential as a regenerative microenvironment for nerve repair.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): Young Hye Song, Christine Warncke, Sung Jin Choi, Siyoung Choi, Aaron E. Chiou, Lu Ling, Han-Yuan Liu, Susan Daniel, Marc A. Antonyak, Richard A. Cerione, Claudia Fischbach

Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) are abundantly present in the mammary microenvironment and can promote breast cancer malignancy by differentiating into myofibroblasts. However, it remains largely unclear which role tumor-derived extracellular vesicles (TEVs) play in this process. Here, we used microfabricated, type I collagen-based 3-D tissue culture platforms to investigate the effect of breast cancer cell-derived TEVs on ASCs myofibroblast differentiation and consequential changes in extracellular matrix remodeling and vascular sprouting. TEVs collected from MDA MB-231 human metastatic breast cancer cells (MDAs) promoted ASC myofibroblast differentiation in both 2-D and 3-D cultures as indicated by increased alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and fibronectin (Fn) levels. Correspondingly, TEV-treated ASCs were more contractile, secreted more vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and promoted angiogenic sprouting of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). These changes were dependent on transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β)-related signaling and tumor cell glutaminase activity as their inhibition decreased TEV-related myofibroblastic differentiation of ASCs and related functional consequences. In summary, our data suggest that TEVs are important signaling factors that contribute to ASC desmoplastic reprogramming in the tumor microenvironment, and suggest that tumor cell glutamine metabolism may be used as a therapeutic target to interfere with this process.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61

Author(s): C.P. Addington, S. Dharmawaj, J.M. Heffernan, R.W. Sirianni, S.E. Stabenfeldt

The chemokine SDF-1α plays a critical role in mediating stem cell response to injury and disease and has specifically been shown to mobilize neural progenitor/stem cells (NPSCs) towards sites of neural injury. Current neural transplant paradigms within the brain suffer from low rates of retention and engraftment after injury. Therefore, increasing transplant sensitivity to injury-induced SDF-1α represents a method for increasing neural transplant efficacy. Previously, we have reported on a hyaluronic acid-laminin based hydrogel (HA-Lm gel) that increases NPSC expression of SDF-1α receptor, CXCR4, and subsequently, NPSC chemotactic migration towards a source of SDF-1α in vitro. The study presented here investigates the capacity of the HA-Lm gel to promote NPSC response to exogenous SDF-1α in vivo. We observed the HA-Lm gel to significantly increase NPSC transplant retention and migration in response to SDF-1α in a manner critically dependent on signaling via the SDF-1α-CXCR4 axis. This work lays the foundation for development of a more effective cell therapy for neural injury, but also has broader implications in the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine given the essential roles of SDF-1α across injury and disease states.





Publication date: July 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 60–61









Publication date: Available online 19 June 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Jasper Foolen, Stefania L. Wunderli, Sandra Loerakker, Jess G. Snedeker

Tendinopathy is a widespread and unresolved clinical challenge, in which associated pain and hampered mobility present a major cause for work-related disability. Tendinopathy associates with a change from a healthy tissue with aligned extracellular matrix (ECM) and highly polarized cells that are connected head-to-tail, towards a diseased tissue with a disorganized ECM and randomly distributed cells, scar-like features that are commonly attributed to poor innate regenerative capacity of the tissue. A fundamental clinical dilemma with this scarring process is whether treatment strategies should focus on healing the affected (disorganized) tissue or strengthen the remaining healthy (anisotropic) tissue. The question was thus asked whether the intrinsic remodeling capacity of tendon-derived cells depends on the organization of the 3D extracellular matrix (isotropic vs anisotropic). Progress in this field is hampered by the lack of suitable in vitro tissue platforms. We aimed at filling this critical gap by creating and exploiting a next generation tissue platform that mimics aspects of the tendon scarring process; cellular response to a gradient in tissue organization from isotropic (scarred/non-aligned) to highly anisotropic (unscarred/aligned) was studied, as was a transient change from isotropic towards highly anisotropic. Strikingly, cells residing in an ‘unscarred’ anisotropic tissue indicated superior remodeling capacity (increased gene expression levels of collagen, matrix metalloproteinases MMPs, tissue inhibitors of MMPs), when compared to their ‘scarred’ isotropic counterparts. A numerical model then supported the hypothesis that cellular remodeling capacity may correlate to cellular alignment strength. This in turn may have improved cellular communication, and could thus relate to the more pronounced connexin43 gap junctions observed in anisotropic tissues. In conclusion, increased tissue anisotropy was observed to enhance the cellular potential for functional remodeling of the matrix. This may explain the poor regenerative capacity of tenocytes in chronic tendinopathy, where the pathological process has resulted in ECM disorganization. Additionally, it lends support to treatment strategies that focus on strengthening the remaining healthy tissue, rather than regenerating scarred tissue.





Publication date: Available online 17 June 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Preety Panwar, Georgina S. Butler, Andrew Jamroz, Pouya Azizi, Christopher M. Overall, Dieter Brömme

The natural aging process and various pathologies correlate with alterations in the composition and the structural and mechanical integrity of the connective tissue. Collagens represent the most abundant matrix proteins and provide for the overall stiffness and resilience of tissues. The structural changes of collagens and their susceptibility to degradation are associated with skin wrinkling, bone and cartilage deterioration, as well as cardiovascular and respiratory malfunctions. Here, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are major contributors to tissue remodeling and collagen degradation. During ageing, collagens are modified by mineralization, accumulation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), and the depletion of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which affect fiber stability and their susceptibility to MMP-mediated degradation. We found a reduced collagenolysis in mineralized and AGE-modified collagen fibers when compared to native fibrillar collagen. GAGs had no effect on MMP-mediated degradation of collagen. In general, MMP digestion led to a reduction in the mechanical strength of native and modified collagen fibers. Successive fiber degradation with MMPs and the cysteine-dependent collagenase, cathepsin K (CatK), resulted in their complete degradation. In contrast, MMP-generated fragments were not or only poorly cleaved by non-collagenolytic cathepsins such as cathepsin V (CatV). In conclusion, our data indicate that aging and disease-associated collagen modifications reduce tissue remodeling by MMPs and decrease the structural and mechanic integrity of collagen fibers, which both may exacerbate extracellular matrix pathology.





Publication date: Available online 15 June 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Steven E. Wilson, Gustavo K. Marino, Andre A.M. Torricelli, Carla S. Medeiros

Myofibroblast-mediated fibrosis is important in the pathophysiology of diseases in most organs. The cornea, the transparent anterior wall of the eye that functions to focus light on the retina, is commonly affected by fibrosis and provides an optimal model due to its simplicity and accessibility. Severe injuries to the cornea, including infection, surgery, and trauma, may trigger the development of myofibroblasts and fibrosis in the normally transparent connective tissue stroma. Ultrastructural studies have demonstrated that defective epithelial basement membrane (EBM) regeneration after injury underlies the development of myofibroblasts from both bone marrow- and keratocyte-derived precursor cells in the cornea. Defective EBM permits epithelium-derived transforming growth factor beta, platelet-derived growth factor, and likely other modulators, to penetrate the stroma at sustained levels necessary to drive the development of vimentin+ alpha-smooth muscle actin+ desmin+ (V+A+D+) mature myofibroblasts and promote their persistence. Defective versus normal EBM regeneration likely relates to the severity of the stromal injury and a resulting decrease in fibroblasts (keratocytes) and their contribution of EBM components, including laminin alpha-3 and nidogen-2. Corneal fibrosis may resolve over a period of months to years if the inciting injury is eliminated through keratocyte-facilitated regeneration of normal EBM, ensuing apoptosis of myofibroblasts, and reorganization of disordered extracellular matrix by repopulating keratocytes. We hypothesize the corneal model of fibrosis associated with defective BM regeneration and myofibroblast development after epithelial or parenchymal injury may be a paradigm for the development of fibrosis in other organs where chronic injury or defective BM underlies the pathophysiology of disease.





Publication date: Available online 7 June 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Miguel Miron-Mendoza, Eric Graham, Sujal Manohar, W. Matthew Petroll

Purpose We previously reported that fibroblasts migrating within 3-D collagen matrices move independently, whereas fibroblasts within 3-D fibrin matrices form an interconnected network. Similar networks have been identified previously during in vivo corneal wound healing. In this study, we investigate the role of fibronectin in mediating this mechanism of collective cell spreading, migration and patterning. Methods To assess cell spreading, corneal fibroblasts were plated within fibrillar collagen or fibrin matrices. To assess migration, compacted cell-populated collagen matrices were nested inside cell-free fibrin matrices. Constructs were cultured in serum-free media containing PDGF, with or without RGD peptide, anti-α5 or anti-fibronectin blocking antibodies. In some experiments, LifeAct and fluorescent fibronectin were used to allow dynamic assessment of cell-induced fibronectin reorganization. 3-D and 4-D imaging were used to assess cell mechanical behavior, connectivity, F-actin, α5 integrin and fibronectin organization. Results Corneal fibroblasts within 3-D fibrin matrices formed an interconnected network that was lined with cell-secreted fibronectin. Live cell imaging demonstrated that fibronectin tracks were formed at the leading edge of spreading and migrating cells. Furthermore, fibroblasts preferentially migrated through fibronectin tracks laid down by other cells. Interfering with cell-fibronectin binding with RGD, anti α5 integrin or anti fibronectin antibodies inhibited cell spreading and migration through fibrin, but did not affect cell behavior in collagen. Conclusions In this study, a novel mode of cell patterning was identified in which corneal fibroblasts secrete and attach to fibronectin via α5β1 integrin to facilitate spreading and migration within 3-D fibrin matrices, resulting in the formation of localized fibronectin tracks. Other cells use these fibronectin tracks as conduits, resulting in an interconnected cell-fibronectin network.





Publication date: Available online 5 May 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Uma Thanigai Arasu, Riikka Kärnä, Kai Härkönen, Sanna Oikari, Arto Koistinen, Heikki Kröger, Chengjuan Qu, Mikko J. Lammi, Kirsi Rilla

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) secreted by stem cells are potential factors mediating tissue regeneration. They travel from bone marrow stem cells into damaged tissues, suggesting that they can repair tissue injuries without directly replacing parenchymal cells. We have discovered that hyaluronan (HA) synthesis is associated with the shedding of HA-coated EVs. The aim of this study was to test whether bone marrow-derived hMSCs secrete HA-coated EVs. The EVs secreted by MSCs were isolated by differential centrifugation and characterized by nanoparticle tracking analysis. Their morphology and budding mechanisms were inspected by confocal microscopy and correlative light and electron microscopy. Hyaluronan synthesis of hMSCs was induced by lipopolysaccharide and inhibited by RNA interference and 4-methylumbelliferone. It was found that the MSCs have extremely long apical and lateral HA-coated filopodia, typical for cells with an active HA secretion. Additionally, they secreted HA-coated EVs carrying mRNAs for CD44 and all HAS isoforms. The results show that stem cells have a strong intrinsic potential for HA synthesis and EV secretion, and the amount of HA carried on EVs reflects the HA content of the original cells. These results show that the secretion of HA-coated EVs by hMSCs is a general process, that may contribute to many of the mechanisms of HA-mediated tissue regeneration. Additionally, an HA coat on EVs may regulate their interactions with target cells and participate in extracellular matrix remodeling.





Publication date: May 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 59









Publication date: May 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 59

Author(s): Evgenia Karousou, Suniti Misra, Shibnath Ghatak, Katalin Dobra, Martin Götte, Davide Vigetti, Alberto Passi, Nikos K. Karamanos, Spyros S. Skandalis

Synthesis, deposition, and interactions of hyaluronan (HA) with its cellular receptor CD44 are crucial events that regulate the onset and progression of tumors. The intracellular signaling pathways initiated by HA interactions with CD44 leading to tumorigenic responses are complex. Moreover, HA molecules may perform dual functions depending on their concentration and size. Overexpression of variant isoforms of CD44 (CD44v) is most commonly linked to cancer progression, whereas their loss is associated with inhibition of tumor growth. In this review, we highlight that the regulation of HA synthases (HASes) by post-translational modifications, such as O-GlcNAcylation and ubiquitination, environmental factors and the action of microRNAs is important for HA synthesis and secretion in the tumor microenvironment. Moreover, we focus on the roles and interactions of CD44 with various proteins that reside extra- and intracellularly, as well as on cellular membranes with particular reference to the CD44-HA axis in cancer stem cell functions, and the importance of CD44/CD44v6 targeting to inhibit tumorigenesis.





Publication date: May 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 59

Author(s): Georgina S. Butler, Andrea R. Connor, Nor Eddine Sounni, Ulrich Eckhard, Charlotte J. Morrison, Agnès Noël, Christopher M. Overall

Members of the CCN family of matricellular proteins are cytokines linking cells to the extracellular matrix. We report that CCN3 (Nov) and CCN5 (WISP2) are novel substrates of MMP14 (membrane-type 1-matrix metalloproteinase, MT1-MMP) that we identified using MMP14 “inactive catalytic domain capture” (ICDC) as a yeast two-hybrid protease substrate trapping platform in parallel with degradomics mass spectrometry screens for MMP14 substrates. CCN3 and CCN5, previously unknown substrates of MMPs, were biochemically validated as substrates of MMP14 and other MMPs in vitro—CCN5 was processed in the variable region by MMP14 and MMP2, as well as by MMP1, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 15. CCN1, 2 and 3 are proangiogenic factors yet we found novel opposing activity of CCN5 that was potently antiangiogenic in an aortic ring vessel outgrowth model. MMP14, a known regulator of angiogenesis, cleaved CCN5 and abrogated the angiostatic activity. CCN3 was also processed in the variable region by MMP14 and MMP2, and by MMP1, 8 and 9. In addition to the previously reported cleavages of CCN1 and CCN2 by several MMPs we found that MMPs 8, 9, and 1 process CCN1, and MMP8 and MMP9 also process CCN2. Thus, our study reveals additional and pervasive family-wide processing of CCN matricellular proteins/cytokines by MMPs. Furthermore, CCN5 cleavage by proangiogenic MMPs results in removal of an angiogenic brake held by CCN5. This highlights the importance of thorough dissection of MMP substrates that is needed to reveal higher-level control mechanisms beyond type IV collagen and other extracellular matrix protein remodelling in angiogenesis. Summary We find CCN family member cleavage by MMPs is more pervasive than previously reported and includes CCN3 (Nov) and CCN5 (WISP2). CCN5 is a novel antiangiogenic factor, whose function is abrogated by proangiogenic MMP cleavage. By processing CCN proteins, MMPs regulate cell responses angiogenesis in connective tissues.





Publication date: May 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 59

Author(s): Alexandra K. Pastino, Todd M. Greco, Rommel A. Mathias, Ileana M. Cristea, Jean E. Schwarzbauer

Advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) are a heterogeneous group of compounds that form via non-enzymatic glycation of proteins throughout our lifespan and at a higher rate in certain chronic diseases such as diabetes. AGEs contribute to the progression of fibrosis, in part by stimulating cellular pathways that affect gene expression. Long-lived ECM proteins are targets for non-enzymatic glycation but the question of whether the AGE-modified ECM leads to excess ECM accumulation and fibrosis remains unanswered. In this study, cellular changes due to AGE accretion in the ECM were investigated. Non-enzymatic glycation of proteins in a decellularized fibroblast ECM was achieved by incubating the ECM in a solution of methylglyoxal (MGO). Mass spectrometry of fibronectin (FN) isolated from the glycated matrix identified twenty-eight previously unidentified MGO-derived AGE modification sites including functional sites such as the RGD integrin-binding sequence. Mesangial cells grown on the glycated, decellularized matrix assembled increased amounts of FN matrix. Soluble AGE-modified bovine serum albumin (BSA) also stimulated FN matrix assembly and this effect was reduced by function-blocking antibodies against the receptor for AGE (RAGE). These results indicate that cells respond to AGEs by increasing matrix assembly and that RAGE is involved in this response. This raises the possibility that the accumulation of ECM during the progression of fibrosis may be enhanced by cell interactions with AGEs on a glycated ECM.





Publication date: May 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 59

Author(s): R.S. Ghadiali, S.E. Guimond, J.E. Turnbull, A. Pisconti

Satellite cells (SCs) are skeletal muscle stem cells residing quiescent around healthy muscle fibres. In response to injury or disease SCs activate, proliferate and eventually differentiate and fuse to one another to form new muscle fibres, or to existing damaged fibres to repair them. The sulfated polysaccharide heparan sulfate (HS) is a highly variable biomolecule known to play key roles in the regulation of cell fate decisions, though the changes that muscle HS undergoes during SC differentiation are unknown. Here we show that the sulfation levels of HS increase during SC differentiation; more specifically, we observe an increase in 6-O and 2-O-sulfation in N-acetylated disaccharides. Interestingly, a specific increase in 6-O sulfation is also observed in the heparanome of ageing muscle, which we show leads to promotion of FGF2 signalling and satellite cell proliferation, suggesting a role for the heparanome dynamics in age-associated loss of quiescence. Addition of HS mimetics to differentiating SC cultures results in differential effects: an oversulfated HS mimetic increases differentiation and inhibits FGF2 signalling, a known major promoter of SC proliferation and inhibitor of differentiation. In contrast, FGF2 signalling is promoted by an N-acetylated HS mimetic, which inhibits differentiation and promotes SC expansion. We conclude that the heparanome of SCs is dynamically regulated during muscle differentiation and ageing, and that such changes might account for some of the phenotypes and signalling events that are associated with these processes.





Publication date: May 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 59

Author(s): Simone D. Scilabra, Kazuhiro Yamamoto, Martina Pigoni, Kazuma Sakamoto, Stephan A. Müller, Alkmini Papadopoulou, Stefan F. Lichtenthaler, Linda Troeberg, Hideaki Nagase, Kenji Kadomatsu

Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 3 (TIMP-3) is a key regulator of extracellular matrix turnover for its ability to inhibit matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), adamalysin-like metalloproteinases (ADAMs) and ADAMs with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTSs). TIMP-3 is a secreted protein whose extracellular levels are regulated by endocytosis via the low-density-lipoprotein receptor-related protein-1 (LRP-1). In this study we developed a molecule able to “trap” TIMP-3 extracellularly, thereby increasing its tissue bioavailability. LRP-1 contains four ligand-binding clusters. In order to investigate the TIMP-3 binding site on LRP-1, we generated soluble minireceptors (sLRPs) containing the four distinct binding clusters or part of each cluster. We used an array of biochemical methods to investigate the binding of TIMP-3 to different sLRPs. We found that TIMP-3 binds to the ligand-binding cluster II of the receptor with the highest affinity and a soluble minireceptor containing the N-terminal half of cluster II specifically blocked TIMP-3 internalization, without affecting the turnover of metalloproteinases. Mass spectrometry-based secretome analysis showed that this minireceptor, named T3TRAP, selectively increased TIMP-3 levels in the extracellular space and inhibited constitutive shedding of a number of cell surface proteins. In conclusion, T3TRAP represents a biological tool that can be used to modulate TIMP-3 levels in the tissue and could be potentially developed as a therapy for diseases characterized by a deficit of TIMP-3, including arthritis.





Publication date: May 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 59

Author(s): Samir W. Hamaia, Daisy Luff, Emma J. Hunter, Jean-Daniel Malcor, Dominique Bihan, Donald Gullberg, Richard W. Farndale

The collagen-binding integrins recognise collagen through their inserted (I) domain, where co-ordination of a Mg2+ ion in the metal ion-dependent site is reorganised by ligation by a collagen glutamate residue found in specific collagen hexapeptide motifs. Here we show that GROGER, found in the N-terminal domain of collagens I and III, is only weakly recognised by α10β1, an important collagen receptor on chondrocytes, contrasting with the other collagen-binding integrins. Alignment of I domain sequence and molecular modelling revealed a clash between a unique arginine residue (R215) in α10β1 and the positively-charged GROGER. Replacement of R215 with glutamine restored binding. Substituting arginine at the equivalent locus (Q214) in integrins α1 and α2 I domains impaired their binding to GROGER. Collagen II, abundant in cartilage, lacks GROGER. GRSGET is uniquely expressed in the C-terminus of collagen II, but this motif is similarly not recognised by α10β1. These data suggest an evolutionary imperative to maintain accessibility of the terminal domains of collagen II in tissues such as cartilage, perhaps during endochondral ossification, where α10β1 is the main collagen-binding integrin.





Publication date: May 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 59

Author(s): Alfonso Gautieri, Fabian S. Passini, Unai Silván, Manuel Guizar-Sicairos, Giulia Carimati, Piero Volpi, Matteo Moretti, Herbert Schoenhuber, Alberto Redaelli, Martin Berli, Jess G. Snedeker

Concurrent with a progressive loss of regenerative capacity, connective tissue aging is characterized by a progressive accumulation of Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs). Besides being part of the typical aging process, type II diabetics are particularly affected by AGE accumulation due to abnormally high levels of systemic glucose that increases the glycation rate of long-lived proteins such as collagen. Although AGEs are associated with a wide range of clinical disorders, the mechanisms by which AGEs contribute to connective tissue disease in aging and diabetes are still poorly understood. The present study harnesses advanced multiscale imaging techniques to characterize a widely employed in vitro model of ribose induced collagen aging and further benchmarks these data against experiments on native human tissues from donors of different age. These efforts yield unprecedented insight into the mechanical changes in collagen tissues across hierarchical scales from molecular, to fiber, to tissue-levels. We observed a linear increase in molecular spacing (from 1.45nm to 1.5nm) and a decrease in the D-period length (from 67.5nm to 67.1nm) in aged tissues, both using the ribose model of in vitro glycation and in native human probes. Multiscale mechanical analysis of in vitro glycated tendons strongly suggests that AGEs reduce tissue viscoelasticity by severely limiting fiber–fiber and fibril–fibril sliding. This study lays an important foundation for interpreting the functional and biological effects of AGEs in collagen connective tissues, by exploiting experimental models of AGEs crosslinking and benchmarking them for the first time against endogenous AGEs in native tissue.





Publication date: May 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 59

Author(s): Ana Tomasovic, Nina Kurrle, Frank Wempe, Silke De-Zolt, Susan Scheibe, Katri Koli, Martin Serchinger, Frank Schnütgen, Duran Sürün, Anja Sterner-Kock, Norbert Weissmann, Harald von Melchner

Latent transforming growth factor beta binding protein 4 (LTBP4) belongs to the fibrillin/LTBP family of proteins and plays an important role as a structural component of extracellular matrix (ECM) and local regulator of TGFβ signaling. We have previously reported that Ltbp4S knock out mice (Ltbp4S−/−) develop centrilobular emphysema reminiscent of late stage COPD, which could be partially rescued by inactivating the antioxidant protein Sestrin 2 (Sesn2). More recent studies showed that Sesn2 knock out mice upregulate Pdgfrβ-controlled alveolar maintenance programs that protect against cigarette smoke induced pulmonary emphysema. Based on this, we hypothesized that the emphysema of Ltbp4S−/− mice is primarily caused by defective Pdgfrβ signaling. Here we show that LTBP4 induces Pdgfrβ signaling by inhibiting the antioxidant Nrf2/Keap1 pathway in a TGFβ-dependent manner. Overall, our data identified Ltbp4 as a major player in lung remodeling and injury repair.





Publication date: May 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 59









Publication date: May 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 59









Publication date: Available online 21 April 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Eva Andreuzzi, Roberta Colladel, Rosanna Pellicani, Giulia Tarticchio, Renato Cannizzaro, Paola Spessotto, Benedetta Bussolati, Alessia Brossa, Paolo De Paoli, Vincenzo Canzonieri, Renato V. Iozzo, Alfonso Colombatti, Maurizio Mongiat

Angiogenesis is a crucial process occurring under physiological and pathological conditions, including cancer. The development of blood vessels is tightly regulated by a plethora of cytokines, endothelial cell (EC) receptors and extracellular matrix (ECM) components. In this context, we have shown that Multimerin 2 (MMRN2), an ECM molecule specifically secreted by ECs, exerts angiostatic functions by binding VEGFA and other pro-angiogenic cytokines. Here, we demonstrate that during angiogenic stimuli MMRN2 mRNA levels significantly decrease. Furthermore, we provide evidence that MMRN2 is processed by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) including MMP-9 and, to a lesser degree, by MMP-2. This proteolytic cleavage correlates with an increased migration of ECs. Accordingly, MMRN2 down-regulation is associated with an increased number of EC pseudopodia at the migrating front and this effect is attenuated using specific MMP-9 inhibitors. The down-modulation of MMRN2 occurs also in the context of tumor-associated angiogenesis. Immunofluorescence performed on tumor sections indicate a broad co-localization of MMP-9 and MMRN2, suggesting that the molecule may be extensively remodeled during tumor angiogenesis. Given the altered expression in tumors and the key role of MMRN2 in blood vessel function, we postulate that analyses of its expression may serve as a marker to predict the efficacy of the treatments. In conclusion, these data further support the role of MMRN2 as a key molecule regulating EC function and sprouting angiogenesis.





Publication date: Available online 20 April 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Ryuta Tanimoto, Chiara Palladino, Shi-Qiong Xu, Simone Buraschi, Thomas Neill, Leonard G. Gomella, Stephen C. Peiper, Antonino Belfiore, Renato V. Iozzo, Andrea Morrione

Despite extensive clinical and experimental studies over the past decades, the pathogenesis and progression to the castration-resistant stage of prostate cancer remains largely unknown. Progranulin, a secreted growth factor, strongly binds the heparin-sulfate proteoglycan perlecan, and counteracts its biological activity. We established that progranulin acts as an autocrine growth factor and promotes prostate cancer cell motility, invasion, and anchorage-independent growth. Progranulin was overexpressed in prostate cancer tissues vis-à-vis non-neoplastic tissues supporting the hypothesis that progranulin may play a key role in prostate cancer progression. However, progranulin's mode of action is not well understood and proteins regulating progranulin signaling have not been identified. Sortilin, a single-pass type I transmembrane protein of the Vps10 family, binds progranulin in neurons and targets progranulin for lysosomal degradation. Significantly, in DU145 and PC3 cells, we detected very low levels of sortilin associated with high levels of progranulin production and enhanced motility. Restoring sortilin expression decreased progranulin levels, inhibited motility and anchorage-independent growth and destabilized Akt. These results demonstrated a critical role for sortilin in regulating progranulin and suggest that sortilin loss may contribute to prostate cancer progression. Here, we provide the novel observation that progranulin downregulated sortilin protein levels independent of transcription. Progranulin induced sortilin ubiquitination, internalization via clathrin-dependent endocytosis and sorting into early endosomes for lysosomal degradation. Collectively, these results constitute a regulatory feed-back mechanism whereby sortilin downregulation ensures sustained progranulin-mediated oncogenesis.





Publication date: Available online 4 April 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Pia Ringer, Georgina Colo, Reinhard Fässler, Carsten Grashoff

The ability of cells to adhere and sense their mechano-chemical environment is key to many developmental, postnatal homeostatic and pathological processes; however, the underlying molecular mechanisms are still poorly understood. Here, we summarize recent progress that indicates how cell adhesion, mechanotransduction and chemical signaling are coordinated in cells, and we discuss how the combination of novel experimental approaches with theoretical studies is currently utilized to unravel the molecular mechanisms governing mechano-chemical coupling during cell adhesion.





Publication date: Available online 21 February 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Cornelia Tolg, Han Yuan, Sarah M. Flynn, Kaustuv Basu, Jenny Ma, Kenneth Chor Kin Tse, Beatrice Kowalska, Diana Vulkanesku, Mary K. Cowman, James B. McCarthy, Eva A. Turley

Mammary gland morphogenesis begins during fetal development but expansion of the mammary tree occurs postnatally in response to hormones, growth factors and extracellular matrix. Hyaluronan (HA) is an extracellular matrix polysaccharide that has been shown to modulate growth factor-induced branching in culture. Neither the physiological relevance of HA to mammary gland morphogenesis nor the role that HA receptors play in these responses are currently well understood. We show that HA synthase (HAS2) is expressed in both ductal epithelia and stromal cells but HA primarily accumulates in the stroma. HA accumulation and expression of the HA receptors CD44 and RHAMM are highest during gestation when gland remodeling, lateral branch infilling and lobulo-alveoli formation is active. Molecular weight analyses show that approximately 98% of HA at all stages of morphogenesis is >300kDa. Low levels of 7–114kDa HA fragments are also detected and in particular the accumulation of 7–21kDa HA fragments are significantly higher during gestation than other morphogenetic stages (p <0.05). Using these in vivo results as a guide, in culture analyses of mammary epithelial cell lines (EpH4 and NMuMG) were performed to determine the roles of high molecular weight, 7–21kDa (10kDa MWavg) and HA receptors in EGF-induced branching morphogenesis. Results of these assays show that while HA synthesis is required for branching and 10kDa HA fragments strongly stimulate branching, the activity of HA decreases with increasing molecular weight and 500kDa HA strongly inhibits this morphogenetic process. The response to 10kDa HA requires RHAMM function and genetic deletion of RHAMM transiently blunts lateral branching in vivo. Collectively, these results reveal distinct roles for HA polymer size in modulating growth factor induced mammary gland branching and implicates these polymers in both the expansion and sculpting of the mammary tree during gestation.





Publication date: Available online 17 February 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Patricia Paracuellos, Sebastian Kalamajski, Arkadiusz Bonna, Dominique Bihan, Richard W. Farndale, Erhard Hohenester

The small leucine-rich proteoglycans (SLRPs) are important regulators of extracellular matrix assembly and cell signalling. We have determined crystal structures at ~2.2Å resolution of human fibromodulin and chondroadherin, two collagen-binding SLRPs. Their overall fold is similar to that of the prototypical SLRP, decorin, but unlike decorin neither fibromodulin nor chondroadherin forms a stable dimer. A previously identified binding site for integrin α2β1 maps to an α-helix in the C-terminal cap region of chondroadherin. Interrogation of the Collagen Toolkits revealed a unique binding site for chondroadherin in collagen II, and no binding to collagen III. A triple-helical peptide containing the sequence GAOGPSGFQGLOGPOGPO (O is hydroxyproline) forms a stable complex with chondroadherin in solution. In fibrillar collagen I and II, this sequence is aligned with the collagen cross-linking site KGHR, suggesting a role for chondroadherin in cross-linking.





Publication date: Available online 10 February 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Christian Woltersdorf, Melanie Bonk, Birgit Leitinger, Mikko Huhtala, Jarmo Käpylä, Jyrki Heino, Christian Gil Girol, Stephan Niland, Johannes A. Eble, Peter Bruckner, Rita Dreier, Uwe Hansen

Interactions of cells with supramolecular aggregates of the extracellular matrix (ECM) are mediated, in part, by cell surface receptors of the integrin family. These are important molecular components of cell surface-suprastructures regulating cellular activities in general. A subfamily of β1-integrins with von Willebrand-factor A-like domains (I-domains) in their α-chains can bind to collagen molecules and, therefore, are considered as important cellular mechano-receptors. Here we show that chondrocytes strongly bind to cartilage collagens in the form of individual triple helical molecules but very weakly to fibrils formed by the same molecules. We also find that chondrocyte integrins α1β1-, α2β1- and α10β1-integrins and their I-domains have the same characteristics. Nevertheless we find integrin binding to mechanically generated cartilage fibril fragments, which also comprise peripheral non-collagenous material. We conclude that cell adhesion results from binding of integrin-containing adhesion suprastructures to the non-collagenous fibril periphery but not to the collagenous fibril cores. The biological importance of the well-investigated recognition of collagen molecules by integrins is unknown. Possible scenarios may include fibrillogenesis, fibril degradation and/or phagocytosis, recruitment of cells to remodeling sites, or molecular signaling across cytoplasmic membranes. In these circumstances, collagen molecules may lack a fibrillar organization. However, other processes requiring robust biomechanical functions, such as fibril organization in tissues, cell division, adhesion, or migration, do not involve direct integrin-collagen interactions.





Publication date: Available online 24 January 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Liliana Guerra, Teresa Odorisio, Giovanna Zambruno, Daniele Castiglia

Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) is a skin fragility disease caused by mutations that affect the function and/or the amount of type VII collagen (C7), the major component of anchoring fibrils. Hallmarks of RDEB are unremitting blistering and chronic wounds leading to tissue fibrosis and scarring. Nearly all patients with severe RDEB develop highly metastatic squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) which are the main cause of death. Accumulating evidence from a murine RDEB model and human RDEB cells demonstrates that lack of C7 also directly alters the wound healing process. Non-healing RDEB wounds are characterized by increased inflammation, high transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) levels and activity, and are heavily populated by myofibroblasts responsible for enhanced fibrogenesis and matrix stiffness. These changes make the RDEB stroma a microenvironment prone to cancer initiation, where cells with features of cancer-associated fibroblasts are found. Here, we discuss recent knowledge on microenvironment alterations in RDEB, highlighting possible therapeutic targets to prevent and/or delay fibrosis and SCC development.





Publication date: Available online 23 January 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Nicole C. Smits, Takashi Kobayashi, Pratyaksh K. Srivastava, Sladjana Skopelja, Julianne A. Ivy, Dustin J. Elwood, Radu V. Stan, Gregory J. Tsongalis, Frank W. Sellke, Peter L. Gross, Michael D. Cole, James T. DeVries, Aaron V. Kaplan, John F. Robb, Scott M. Williams, Nicholas W. Shworak

The HS3ST1 gene controls endothelial cell production of HSAT+ – a form of heparan sulfate containing a specific pentasaccharide motif that binds the anticoagulant protein antithrombin (AT). HSAT+ has long been thought to act as an endogenous anticoagulant; however, coagulation was normal in Hs3st1 / mice that have greatly reduced HSAT+ (HajMohammadi et al., 2003). This finding indicates that HSAT+ is not essential for AT's anticoagulant activity. To determine if HSAT+ is involved in AT's poorly understood inflammomodulatory activities, Hs3st1 / and Hs3st1 +/+ mice were subjected to a model of acute septic shock. Compared with Hs3st1 +/+ mice, Hs3st1 / mice were more susceptible to LPS-induced death due to an increased sensitivity to TNF. For Hs3st1 +/+ mice, AT treatment reduced LPS-lethality, reduced leukocyte firm adhesion to endothelial cells, and dilated isolated coronary arterioles. Conversely, for Hs3st1 / mice, AT induced the opposite effects. Thus, in the context of acute inflammation, HSAT+ selectively mediates AT's anti-inflammatory activity; in the absence of HSAT+, AT's pro-inflammatory effects predominate. To explore if the anti-inflammatory action of HSAT+ also protects against a chronic vascular-inflammatory disease, atherosclerosis, we conducted a human candidate-gene association study on >2000 coronary catheterization patients. Bioinformatic analysis of the HS3ST1 gene identified an intronic SNP, rs16881446, in a putative transcriptional regulatory region. The rs16881446G/G genotype independently associated with the severity of coronary artery disease and atherosclerotic cardiovascular events. In primary endothelial cells, the rs16881446G allele associated with reduced HS3ST1 expression. Together with the mouse data, this leads us to conclude that the HS3ST1 gene is required for AT's anti-inflammatory activity that appears to protect against acute and chronic inflammatory disorders.





Publication date: Available online 4 January 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): R.P. Cavalheiro, M.A. Lima, T.R. Jarrouge-Bouças, G.M. Viana, C.C. Lopes, V.J. Coulson-Thomas, J.L. Dreyfuss, E.A. Yates, I.L.S. Tersariol, H.B. Nader

Syndecans are heparan sulfate proteoglycans characterized as transmembrane receptors that act cooperatively with the cell surface and extracellular matrix proteins. Syn4 knockdown was performed in order to address its role in endothelial cells (EC) behavior. Normal EC and shRNA-Syn4-EC cells were studied comparatively using complementary confocal, super-resolution and non-linear microscopic techniques. Confocal and super-resolution microscopy revealed that Syn4 knockdown alters the level and arrangement of essential proteins for focal adhesion, evidenced by the decoupling of vinculin from F-actin filaments. Furthermore, Syn4 knockdown alters the actin network leading to filopodial protrusions connected by VE-cadherin–rich junction. shRNA-Syn4-EC showed reduced adhesion and increased migration. Also, Syn4 silencing alters cell cycle as well as cell proliferation. Moreover, the ability of EC to form tube-like structures in matrigel is reduced when Syn4 is silenced. Together, the results suggest a mechanism in which Syndecan-4 acts as a central mediator that bridges fibronectin, integrin and intracellular components (actin and vinculin) and once silenced, the cytoskeleton protein network is disrupted. Ultimately, the results highlight Syn4 relevance for balanced cell behavior.





Publication date: January 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 57–58

Author(s): Ambra Pozzi, Peter D. Yurchenco, Renato V. Iozzo

Basement membranes are delicate, nanoscale and pliable sheets of extracellular matrices that often act as linings or partitions in organisms. Previously considered as passive scaffolds segregating polarized cells, such as epithelial or endothelial cells, from the underlying mesenchyme, basement membranes have now reached the center stage of biology. They play a multitude of roles from blood filtration to muscle homeostasis, from storing growth factors and cytokines to controlling angiogenesis and tumor growth, from maintaining skin integrity and neuromuscular structure to affecting adipogenesis and fibrosis. Here, we will address developmental, structural and biochemical aspects of basement membranes and discuss some of the pathogenetic mechanisms causing diseases linked to abnormal basement membranes.





Publication date: January 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 57–58

Author(s): Michael J. Randles, Martin J. Humphries, Rachel Lennon

Basement membranes are formed from condensed networks of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. These structures underlie all epithelial, mesothelial and endothelial sheets and provide an essential structural scaffold. Candidate-based investigations have established that predominant components of basement membranes are laminins, collagen type IV, nidogens and heparan sulphate proteoglycans. More recently, global proteomic approaches have been applied to investigate ECM and these analyses confirm tissue-specific ECM proteomes with a high degree of complexity. The proteomes consist of structural as well as regulatory ECM proteins such as proteases and growth factors. This review is focused on the proteomic analysis of basement membranes and illustrates how this approach can be used to build our understanding of ECM regulation in health and disease.





Publication date: January 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 57–58

Author(s): Marion Jeanne, Douglas B Gould

COL4A1 and COL4A2 are extracellular matrix proteins that form heterotrimers and are present in nearly all basement membranes in every organ. In the past decade, COL4A1 and COL4A2 mutations have been identified to cause a multi-system disorder for which penetrance and severity of constituent phenotypes can greatly vary. Here, we compare the outcomes of more than 100 mutations identified in patients and data from a murine allelic series to explore the presence of genotype–phenotype correlations – many of which are shared among other types of collagen. We find that there is a frequency bias for COL4A1 over COL4A2 mutations and that glycine (Gly) substitutions within the triple helical domain are the most common class of mutations. Glycine is most often replaced by a charged amino acid, however the position of the mutation, and not the properties of the substituting amino acid, appears to have a greater influence on disease severity. Moreover, the impact of position is not straightforward. Observations from a murine allelic series suggest that mutations in the NC1 domain may result in relatively mild phenotypes via a ‘quantitative’ mechanism similar to other types of collagens, however, this effect was not apparent in human reports. Importantly, other position-dependent effects had differential impacts depending on the phenotype of interest. For example, the severity of cerebrovascular disease correlated with an amino-to-carboxy severity gradient for triple-helical glycine substitutions whereas the penetrance and severity of myopathy and nephropathy appear to involve a functional sub-domain(s). Greater understanding of genotype–phenotype correlations and the interaction of consequences of different mutations will be important for patient prognosis and care and for developing mechanism-based therapeutics to treat individual components of this emerging syndrome.





Publication date: January 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 57–58

Author(s): Dominic Cosgrove, Shiguang Liu

Alport syndrome is the result of mutations in any of three type IV collagen genes, COL4A3, COL4A4, or COL4A5. Because the three collagen chains form heterotrimers, there is an absence of all three proteins in the basement membranes where they are expressed. In the glomerulus, the mature glomerular basement membrane type IV collagen network, normally comprised of two separate networks, α3(IV)/α4(IV)/α5(IV) and α1(IV)/α2(IV), is comprised entirely of collagen α1(IV)/α2. This review addresses the current state of our knowledge regarding the consequence of this change in basement membrane composition, including both the direct, via collagen receptor binding, and indirect, regarding influences on glomerular biomechanics. The state of our current understanding regarding mechanisms of glomerular disease initiation and progression will be examined, as will the current state of the art regarding emergent therapeutic approaches to slow or arrest glomerular disease in Alport patients.





Publication date: January 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 57–58

Author(s): Ritva Heljasvaara, Mari Aikio, Heli Ruotsalainen, Taina Pihlajaniemi

Collagen XVIII is a ubiquitous basement membrane (BM) proteoglycan produced in three tissue-specific isoforms that differ in their N-terminal non-collagenous sequences, but share collagenous and C-terminal non-collagenous domains. The collagenous domain provides flexibility to the large collagen XVIII molecules on account of multiple interruptions in collagenous sequences. Each isoform has a complex multi-domain structure that endows it with an ability to perform various biological functions. The long isoform contains a frizzled-like (Fz) domain with Wnt-inhibiting activity and a unique domain of unknown function (DUF959), which is also present in the medium isoform. All three isoforms share an N-terminal laminin-G-like/thrombospondin-1 sequence whose specific functions still remain unconfirmed. The proteoglycan nature of the isoforms further increases the functional diversity of collagen XVIII. An anti-angiogenic domain termed endostatin resides in the C-terminus of collagen XVIII and is proteolytically cleaved from the parental molecule during the BM breakdown for example in the process of tumour progression. Recombinant endostatin can efficiently reduce tumour angiogenesis and growth in experimental models by inhibiting endothelial cell migration and proliferation or by inducing their death, but its efficacy against human cancers is still a subject of debate. Mutations in the COL18A1 gene result in Knobloch syndrome, a genetic disorder characterised mainly by severe eye defects and encephalocele and, occasionally, other symptoms. Studies with gene-modified mice have elucidated some aspects of this rare disease, highlighting in particular the importance of collagen XVIII in the development of the eye. Research with model organisms have also helped in determining other structural and biological functions of collagen XVIII, such as its requirement in the maintenance of BM integrity and its emerging roles in regulating cell survival, stem or progenitor cell maintenance and differentiation and inflammation. In this review, we summarise current knowledge on the properties and endogenous functions of collagen XVIII in normal situations and tissue dysregulation. When data is available, we discuss the functions of the distinct isoforms and their specific domains.





Publication date: January 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 57–58

Author(s): Jouni Uitto, Cristina Has, Hassan Vahidnezhad, Leila Youssefian, Leena Bruckner-Tuderman

Epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a phenotypically heterogeneous group of skin fragility disorders, is characterized by blistering and erosions with considerable morbidity and mortality. Mutations in as many as 18 distinct genes expressed at the cutaneous basement membrane zone have been shown to be associated with the blistering phenotype, attesting to the role of the corresponding proteins in providing stable association of the epidermis to the dermis through adhesion at the dermo-epidermal basement membrane zone. Thus, different forms of EB have been highly instructive in providing information on the physiological functions of these proteins as integral components of the supramolecular adhesion complexes. In addition, precise information of the underlying genes and distinct mutations in families with EB has been helpful in subclassification of the disease with prognostic implications, as well as for prenatal testing and preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Furthermore, knowledge of the types of mutations is a prerequisite for application of allele-specific treatment approaches that have been recently developed, including read-through of premature termination codon mutations and chaperone-facilitated intracellular transport of conformationally altered proteins to proper physiologic subcellular location. Collectively, EB serves as a paradigm of heritable skin diseases in which significant progress has been made in identifying the underlying genetic bases and associated aberrant pathways leading from mutations to the phenotype, thus allowing application of precision medicine for this, currently intractable group of diseases.





Publication date: January 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volumes 57–58

Author(s): Robert S. Rogers, Hiroshi Nishimune

The synapse between motor neurons and skeletal muscle is known as the neuromuscular junction (NMJ). Proper alignment of presynaptic and post-synaptic structures of motor neurons and muscle fibers, respectively, is essential for efficient motor control of skeletal muscles. The synaptic cleft between these two cells is filled with basal lamina. Laminins are heterotrimer extracellular matrix molecules that are key members of the basal lamina. Laminin α4, α5, and β2 chains specifically localize to NMJs, and these laminin isoforms play a critical role in maintenance of NMJs and organization of synaptic vesicle release sites known as active zones. These individual laminin chains exert their role in organizing NMJs by binding to their receptors including integrins, dystroglycan, and voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs). Disruption of these laminins or the laminin-receptor interaction occurs in neuromuscular diseases including Pierson syndrome and Lambert–Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS). Interventions to maintain proper level of laminins and their receptor interactions may be insightful in treating neuromuscular diseases and aging related degeneration of NMJs.





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