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Matrix Biology
Publication date: November 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 63

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: November 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 63

Author(s): Yang Wang, Yang Li, Areej Khabut, Susan Chubinskaya, Alan J. Grodzinsky, Patrik Önnerfjord

Mechanical damage at the time of joint injury and the ensuing inflammatory response associated with elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the synovial fluid, are reported to contribute to the progression to osteoarthritis after injury. In this exploratory study, we used a targeted proteomics approach to follow the progression of matrix degradation in response to mechanical damage and cytokine treatment of human knee cartilage explants, and thereby to study potential molecular biomarkers. This proteomics approach allowed us to unambiguously identify and quantify multiple peptides and proteins in the cartilage medium and explants upon treatment with ±injurious compression ±cytokines, treatments that mimic the earliest events in post-traumatic OA. We followed degradation of different protein domains, e.g., G1/G2/G3 of aggrecan, by measuring representative peptides of matrix proteins released into the medium at 7 time points throughout the 21-day culture period. COMP neo-epitopes, which were previously identified in the synovial fluid of knee injury/OA patients, were also released by these human cartilage explants treated with cyt and cyt+inj. The absence of collagen pro-peptides and elevated levels of specific COMP and COL3A1 neo-epitopes after human knee trauma may be relevant as potential biomarkers for post-traumatic OA. This model system thereby enables study of the kinetics of cartilage degradation and the identification of biomarkers within cartilage explants and those released to culture medium. Discovery proteomics revealed that candidate proteases were identified after specific treatment conditions, including MMP1, MMP-3, MMP-10 and MMP-13.





Publication date: November 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 63

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: November 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 63

Author(s): Ville Koistinen, Kai Härkönen, Riikka Kärnä, Uma Thanigai Arasu, Sanna Oikari, Kirsi Rilla

The mesothelium is a membrane that forms the lining of several body cavities. It is composed of simple squamous mesothelial cells that secrete a glycosaminoglycan-rich lubricating fluid between inner organs. One of the most abundant glycosaminoglycans of those fluids is hyaluronan, which is synthesized on a plasma membrane and especially on apical filopodia of cultured cells. Our recent study showed that similar hyaluronan-rich protrusions are found in mesothelial lining in vivo, which suggests that hyaluronan synthesis in plasma membrane protrusions is a general process. However, the mesothelial lining was negative for the hyaluronan receptor CD44 while in many previous studies cultured mesothelial cells have been shown to express CD44. To further explore these findings we induced epithelial to mesenchymal transition in primary rat mesothelial cells by EGF-treatment and scratch wounding. Surprisingly, the results showed that at a normal epithelial, confluent stage the mesothelial cells are negative for CD44, but EMT induced by EGF or wounding activates CD44 expression and the whole hyaluronan synthesis machinery. In addition to typical EMT-like morphological changes, the growth of apical filopodia and budding of extracellular vesicles (EVs) were induced. In summary, the results of this study show that the activation of hyaluronan synthesis machinery, especially the expression of CD44 is strongly associated with EMT induced by EGF and wounding in mesothelial cells. Moreover, EMT enhances the secretion of EVs that carry CD44 and hyaluronan, which may be important regulators in EV interactions with their targets and ECM remodeling. The results of the present study also suggest that CD44 is a potential marker for EVs, especially those secreted from cells during tissue repair and pathological processes.





Publication date: November 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 63

Author(s): Erzsébet Komorowicz, Nóra Balázs, Zoltán Varga, László Szabó, Attila Bóta, Krasimir Kolev

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a large, non-sulfated glucosaminoglycan abundantly present at sites where fibrin is also formed (during wound healing, in arterial restenotic lesions and eroded atherosclerotic plaques). The aim of the present study was to characterize the structure of composite fibrin-HA clots with scanning electron microscopy (SEM), pressure-driven permeation and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and their viscoelastic properties with an oscillation rheometer. In addition the efficiency of fibrinolysis in these clots was investigated by kinetic turbidimetric and chromogenic assays for dissolution of fibrin and plasminogen activation by tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA). Fibrin formed in the presence of native (1500kDa) HA and its 500kDa fragments had thicker fibers and larger pores according to the SEM and clot permeation data, whereas the 25kDa HA fragments had only minor effects. SAXS evidenced a mild disarrangement of protofibrils. These structural alterations suggest that HA modifies the pattern of fibrin polymerization favouring lateral association of protofibrils over formation of branching points. Rheometer data showed softer fibrin structures formed with 1500kDa and 500kDa HA and these clots presented with lower dynamic viscosity values and lower critical stress values at gel/fluid transition. tPA-catalysed plasminogen activation was markedly inhibited by HA, both in free solution and on the surface of fibrin clots, in the presence and in the absence of 6-aminohexanoate suggesting a kringle-independent mechanism. HA of 1500 and 500kDa size prolonged clot lysis with both plasmin and tPA and this inhibition was kringle-mediated, because it was abolished by 6-aminohexanoate and was not observed with des-(kringle1–4)-plasmin. Our data suggest that HA size-dependently modifies the pattern of fibrin polymerization with consequent inhibition of fibrinolysis. At sites of tissue injury and inflammation, HA could stabilize fibrin through modification of its structure and lysibility.





Publication date: November 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 63

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: November 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 63

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: November 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 63

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: November 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 63

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 14 October 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Alessandra Capuano, Federico Fogolari, Francesco Bucciotti, Paola Spessotto, Pier Andrea Nicolosi, Maria Teresa Mucignat, Marta Cervi, Gennaro Esposito, Alfonso Colombatti, Roberto Doliana

EMILIN1, a homo-trimeric adhesive ECM glycoprotein, interacts with the α4β1 integrin through its gC1q domain. Uniquely among the C1q family members, the EMILIN1 gC1q presents only nine-stranded β-sandwich fold and the missing strand is substituted by a disordered 19-residue long segment spanning from Y927 to G945 at the apex of the gC1q domain. This unstructured loop exposes to the solvent the acidic residue E933, which plays a key role in the α4β1 integrin mediated interaction. Here, we experimentally determined that the three E933 residues (one from each monomer) are all required for ligand binding. By docking the NMR structure of the gC1q to a virtual α4β1 crystal structure based on the known structures of α4β7 and α5β1 integrins we built a model of α4β1-gC1q complex where three E933 residues are smoothly forced to coordinate the Mg2+ ion at the βI MIDAS site of the integrin. By bringing the three E933 close in space, the trimeric supramolecular organization of gC1q allows the formation of a proper 3D geometry and suggests a quaternary-structure-dependent mode of interaction. Furthermore, we experimentally identified R904 as a synergistic residue for cell adhesion. Accordingly, the model showed that this residue is able to form potential stabilizing intra-chain salt bridges with residues E928 and E930. This mode of interaction likely accounts for a more stable and durable α4β1-gC1q interaction in comparison with the prototypic CS1 ligand. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the simultaneous involvement of all the three acidic residues of a trimeric ligand in the formation of a dimeric complex with the integrin βI domain.





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

Author(s): Susanne Homann, Maria Grandoch, Lena S. Kiene, Yanina Podsvyadek, Kathrin Feldmann, Berit Rabausch, Nadine Nagy, Stefan Lehr, Inga Kretschmer, Alexander Oberhuber, Paul Bollyky, Jens W. Fischer

Objective Hyaluronan (HA) is a prominent component of the provisional extracellular matrix (ECM) present in the neointima of atherosclerotic plaques. Here the role of HA synthase 3 (HAS3) in atheroprogression was studied. Approach and results It is demonstrated here that HAS isoenzymes 1, -2 and -3 are expressed in human atherosclerotic plaques of the carotid artery. In Apolipoprotein E (Apoe)-deficient mice Has3 expression is increased early during lesion formation when macrophages enter atherosclerotic plaques. Importantly, HAS3 expression in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) was found to be regulated by interleukin 1 β (IL-1β) in an NFkB dependent manner and blocking antibodies to IL-1β abrogate Has3 expression in VSMC by activated macrophages. Has3/Apoe double deficient mice developed less atherosclerosis characterized by decreased Th1-cell responses, decreased IL-12 release, and decreased macrophage-driven inflammation. Conclusions Inhibition of HAS3-dependent synthesis of HA dampens systemic Th1 cell polarization and reduces plaque inflammation. These data suggest that HAS3 might be a promising therapeutic target in atherosclerosis. Moreover, because HAS3 is regulated by IL-1β, our results suggest that therapeutic anti-IL-1β antibodies, currently tested in human clinical trials, may exert their beneficial effects on inflammation in post-myocardial infarction patients via effects on HAS3. in post-myocardial infarction patients who remain at high cardiovascular risk due to persistent elevated inflammatory biomarkers.





Publication date: October 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 62









Publication date: October 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 62

Author(s): Justin Parreno, Sneha Raju, Po-han Wu, Rita A. Kandel

Chondrocyte culture as a monolayer for cell number expansion results in dedifferentiation whereby expanded cells acquire contractile features and increased actin polymerization status. This study determined whether the actin polymerization based signaling pathway, myocardin-related transcription factor-a (MRTF-A) is involved in regulating this contractile phenotype. Serial passaging of chondrocytes in monolayer culture to passage 2 resulted in increased gene and protein expression of the contractile molecules alpha-smooth muscle actin, transgelin and vinculin compared to non-passaged, primary cells. This resulted in a functional change as passaged 2, but not primary, chondrocytes were capable of contracting type I collagen gels in a stress-relaxed contraction assay. These changes were associated with increased actin polymerization and MRTF-A nuclear localization. The involvement of actin was demonstrated by latrunculin B depolymerization of actin which reversed these changes. Alternatively cytochalasin D which activates MRTF-A increased gene and protein expression of α-smooth muscle actin, transgelin and vinculin, whereas CCG1423 which deactivates MRTF-A decreased these molecules. The involvement of MRTF-A signaling was confirmed by gene silencing of MRTF or its co-factor serum response factor. Knockdown experiments revealed downregulation of α-smooth muscle actin and transgelin gene and protein expression, and inhibition of gel contraction. These findings demonstrate that passaged chondrocytes acquire a contractile phenotype and that this change is modulated by the actin-MRTF-A-serum response factor signaling pathway.





Publication date: October 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 62

Author(s): Ayla O. Sessions, Gaurav Kaushik, Sarah Parker, Koen Raedschelders, Rolf Bodmer, Jennifer E. Van Eyk, Adam J. Engler

Aging is associated with extensive remodeling of the heart, including basement membrane (BM) components that surround cardiomyocytes. Remodeling is thought to impair cardiac mechanotransduction, but the contribution of specific BM components to age-related lateral communication between cardiomyocytes is unclear. Using a genetically tractable, rapidly aging model with sufficient cardiac genetic homology and morphology, e.g. Drosophila melanogaster, we observed differential regulation of BM collagens between laboratory strains, correlating with changes in muscle physiology leading to cardiac dysfunction. Therefore, we sought to understand the extent to which BM proteins modulate contractile function during aging. Cardiac-restricted knockdown of ECM genes Pericardin, Laminin A, and Viking in Drosophila prevented age-associated heart tube restriction and increased contractility, even under viscous load. Most notably, reduction of Laminin A expression correlated with an overall preservation of contractile velocity with age and extension of organismal lifespan. Global heterozygous knockdown confirmed these data, which provides new evidence of a direct link between BM homeostasis, contractility, and maintenance of lifespan.





Publication date: October 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 62

Author(s): Yeojung Kim, Sean P. Kessler, Dana R. Obery, Craig R. Homer, Christine McDonald, Carol A. de la Motte

Maintaining a healthy intestinal barrier, the primary physical barrier between intestinal microbiota and the underlying lamina propria, is critical for optimal health. Epithelial integrity is essential for the prevention of the entrance of luminal contents, such as bacteria and their products, through the large intestinal barrier. In this study, we investigated the protective functions of biosynthetic, specific sized, hyaluronan around 35kDa (HA35) on intestinal epithelium in healthy mice, as well as mice infected Citrobacter rodentium, an established model that mimics infection with a serious human pathogen, enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC). Our results reveal that treatment with HA35 protects mice from Citrobacter infection and enhances the epithelial barrier function. In particular, we have found that HA35 induces the expression of tight junction protein zonula occludens (ZO)-1 in both healthy and Citrobacter infected mice, as demonstrated by immunoflurorescence and Western blot analyses. Furthermore, we determined that HA35 treatment enhances ZO-1 expression and reduces intestinal permeability at the early stages of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice. Together, our data demonstrate that the expression and functionality of tight junctions, are increased by HA35 treatment, suggesting a novel mechanism for the protection from Citrobacter infection.





Publication date: October 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 62

Author(s): Varun K. Krishnamurthy, Andrew J. Stout, Matthew C. Sapp, Brittany Matuska, Mark E. Lauer, K. Jane Grande-Allen

Aortic valve disease (AVD) is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular mortality. Abnormal expression of hyaluronan (HA) and its synthesizing/degrading enzymes have been observed during latent AVD however, the mechanism of impaired HA homeostasis prior to and after the onset of AVD remains unexplored. Transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) pathway defects and biomechanical dysfunction are hallmarks of AVD, however their association with altered HA regulation is understudied. Expression of HA homeostatic markers was evaluated in diseased human aortic valves and TGFβ1-cultured porcine aortic valve tissues using histology, immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. Further, porcine valve interstitial cell cultures were stretched (using Flexcell) and simultaneously treated with exogenous TGFβ1±inhibitors for activated Smad2/3 (SB431542) and ERK1/2 (U0126) pathways, and differential HA regulation was assessed using qRT-PCR. Pathological heavy chain HA together with abnormal regional expression of the enzymes HAS2, HYAL1, KIAA1199, TSG6 and IαI was demonstrated in calcified valve tissues identifying the collapse of HA homeostatic machinery during human AVD. Heightened TSG6 activity likely preceded the end-stage of disease, with the existence of a transitional, pre-calcific phase characterized by HA dysregulation. TGFβ1 elicited a fibrotic remodeling response in porcine aortic valves similar to human disease pathology, with increased collagen and HYAL to HAS ratio, and site-specific abnormalities in the expression of CD44 and RHAMM receptors. Further in these porcine valves, expression of HAS2 and HYAL1 was found to be differentially regulated by the Smad2/3 and ERK1/2 pathways, and CD44 expression was highly responsive to biomechanical strain. Leveraging the regulatory pathways that control both HA maintenance in normal valves and early postnatal dysregulation of HA homeostasis during disease may identify new mechanistic insight into AVD pathogenesis.





Publication date: October 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 62

Author(s): Joseph Pickering, Vincent T. Cunliffe, Freek Van Eeden, Anne-Gaëlle Borycki

Laminin-111 (α1β1γ1) is a member of the Laminin family of extra-cellular matrix proteins that comprises 16 members, components of basement membranes. Laminin-111, one of the first Laminin proteins synthesised during embryogenesis, is required for basement membrane deposition and has essential roles in tissue morphogenesis and patterning. Yet, the mechanisms controlling Laminin-111 expression are poorly understood. We generated a zebrafish transgenic reporter line that reproduces faithfully the expression pattern of lama1, the gene encoding Laminin α1, and we used this reporter line to investigate lama1 transcriptional regulation. Our findings established that lama1 expression is controlled by intronic enhancers, including an enhancer directing expression in the paraxial mesoderm, anterior spinal cord and hindbrain, located in intron 1. We show that Hedgehog signalling is necessary and sufficient for lama1 transcription in the paraxial mesoderm and identify putative Gli/Zic binding sites that may mediate this control. These findings uncover a conserved role for Hedgehog signalling in the control of basement membrane assembly via its transcriptional regulation of lama1, and provide a mechanism to coordinate muscle cell fate specification in the zebrafish embryo.





Publication date: October 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 62

Author(s): Susann Junker, Klaus W. Frommer, Grit Krumbholz, Lali Tsiklauri, Rüdiger Gerstberger, Stefan Rehart, Jürgen Steinmeyer, Markus Rickert, Sabine Wenisch, Georg Schett, Ulf Müller-Ladner, Elena Neumann

Objective Osteophyte formation in osteoarthritis (OA) is mediated by increased osteoblast activity, which is -in turn- regulated by the Wnt signaling pathway. Obesity is regarded a risk factor in OA, yet little is known about the interaction between adipose tissue-derived factors, the adipokines, and bone formation, although adipokines are associated with the pathogenesis of OA. Therefore, the effect of adipokines on bone and cartilage forming cells and osteophyte development was analyzed. Methods Human OA osteophytes were histologically characterized and adipokine expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Osteoblasts and chondrocytes were isolated from OA tissue and stimulated with adiponectin, resistin, or visfatin. Cytokine and osteoblast/chondrocyte markers were quantified and activation of Wnt and p38 MAPK signaling was analyzed. Results Adiponectin, resistin, and visfatin were expressed in OA osteophytes by various articular cell types. Stimulation of OA osteoblasts with adiponectin and of OA chondrocytes with visfatin led to an increased release of proinflammatory mediators but not to osteoblast differentiation or activation. Additionally, visfatin increased matrix degrading factors in chondrocytes. Wnt signaling was not altered by adipokines, but adiponectin induced p38 MAPK signaling in osteoblasts. Conclusion Adipokines are present in OA osteophytes, and adiponectin and visfatin increase the release of proinflammatory mediators by osteoblasts and chondrocytes. The effects of adiponectin were mediated by p38 MAPK but not Wnt signaling in osteoblasts. Therefore, the results support the idea that adipokines do not directly influence osteophyte development but the proinflammatory conditions in OA.





Publication date: October 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 62

Author(s): Anqi Xiong, Soumi Kundu, Maud Forsberg, Yuyuan Xiong, Tobias Bergström, Tanja Paavilainen, Lena Kjellén, Jin-Ping Li, Karin Forsberg-Nilsson

Heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs), ubiquitous components of mammalian cells, play important roles in development and homeostasis. These molecules are located primarily on the cell surface and in the pericellular matrix, where they interact with a multitude of macromolecules, including many growth factors. Manipulation of the enzymes involved in biosynthesis and modification of HSPG structures alters the properties of stem cells. Here, we focus on the involvement of heparanase (HPSE), the sole endo-glucuronidase capable of cleaving of HS, in differentiation of embryonic stem cells into the cells of the neural lineage. Embryonic stem (ES) cells overexpressing HPSE (Hpse-Tg) proliferated more rapidly than WT ES cells in culture and formed larger teratomas in vivo. In addition, differentiating Hpse-Tg ES cells also had a higher growth rate, and overexpression of HPSE in NSPCs enhanced Erk and Akt phosphorylation. Employing a two-step, monolayer differentiation, we observed an increase in HPSE as wild-type (WT) ES cells differentiated into neural stem and progenitor cells followed by down-regulation of HPSE as these NSPCs differentiated into mature cells of the neural lineage. Furthermore, NSPCs overexpressing HPSE gave rise to more oligodendrocytes than WT cultures, with a concomitant reduction in the number of neurons. Our present findings emphasize the importance of HS, in neural differentiation and suggest that by regulating the availability of growth factors and, or other macromolecules, HPSE promotes differentiation into oligodendrocytes.





Publication date: October 2017
Source:Matrix Biology, Volume 62

Author(s): Kai Hu, Bjorn R. Olsen, Tatiana Y. Besschetnova

Our previous studies of Antxr1 knockout mice suggested that fibrotic skin abnormalities in these mice are associated with increased VEGF signaling. Here, based on studies of primary fibroblasts isolated from skin of Antx1 +/+ and Antxr1 −/− mice at embryonic stage E17.5 and postnatal day P49, we conclude that increased Col1a1 and Fn1 expression in Antxr1-deficient fibroblasts is partly mediated by a cell-autonomous ANTXR1-dependent mechanism. In turn, this may act in parallel with VEGF-dependent regulation of collagen type I and fibronectin production. We demonstrate that shRNA mediated knockdown of VEGF in Antxr1 −/− fibroblasts reduces Col1a1 and Fn1 expression to below control levels, and these are restored by exogenous addition of recombinant VEGF. In addition, the increase in protein levels of collagen type I and fibronectin in mutant cells is blocked by VEGF neutralizing antibody. However, expressing the longest isoform of ANTXR1 (sv1) in mutant fibroblasts decreases levels of Ctgf, Col1a1 and Fn1 transcripts, but has no effect on VEGF expression. Taken together, our data suggest that the increased matrix production in Antxr1- deficient fibroblasts primarily occurs via a CTGF-dependent pathway and that other ANTXR1–associated mechanisms contribute to VEGF-dependent increase of collagen type I and fibronectin expression. Our findings provide a basis for further studies of novel ANTXR1-dependent connective tissue homeostatic control mechanisms in healthy individuals, patients with organ fibrosis, and patients with GAPO syndrome.





Publication date: Available online 1 October 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Yeojung Kim, Gail A. West, Greeshma Ray, Sean P. Kessler, Aaron C. Petrey, Claudio Fiocchi, Christine McDonald, Michelle S. Longworth, Laura E. Nagy, Carol A. de la Motte

Tight junction proteins are critical in maintaining homeostatic intestinal permeability. Multiple intestinal inflammatory diseases are correlated with reduced expression of tight junction proteins. We have recently reported that oral treatment of mice with Hyaluronan 35kDa (HA35) increases colonic expression of tight junction protein zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1). Here, we investigate whether HA35 treatment enhances ZO-1 expression by direct interaction with intestinal epithelium in vitro and have identified the HA receptor responsible for HA35-mediated ZO-1 induction in colonic epithelium in vitro and in vivo. Our results reveal that HA35 treatment increases ZO-1 expression in mouse intestinal epithelial organoids, while large HA 2000kDa is not internalized into the cells. Our immunofluorescence data indicate that layilin, but neither toll-like receptor-4 (TLR-4) nor CD44, mediate the HA35-induced ZO-1 expression in colonic epithelium in vitro and in vivo. Additionally, using layilin null mice we have determined that layilin mediates HA35 induction of ZO-1 in healthy mice and during dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis. Furthermore, we find that while ZO-1 expression levels are reduced, layilin expression levels are equivalent in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients and non-IBD controls. Together, our data suggest that layilin is an important HA receptor, that mediates the effect of oral HA35 treatment on intestinal epithelium. HA35 holds promise as a simple dietary supplement to strengthen gut barrier defense.





Publication date: Available online 28 September 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Tiantian Wu, Jingwen Huang, Shasha Wu, Zhengjie Huang, Xiaoyan Chen, Yingfu Liu, Dan Cui, Gang Song, Qi Luo, Fan Liu, Gaoliang Ouyang

Periostin (Postn) is a crucial extracellular remodeling factor that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of hepatic inflammation, fibrosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver cancer. However, the role of Postn in liver regeneration remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that Postn mRNA and protein levels are significantly upregulated in the mice after 2/3 partial hepatectomy (PHx). Compared with wild-type mice, Postn-deficient mice exhibit lower liver/body weight ratio and less Ki67-positive cells at days 2, 8 and 14 after PHx. Macrophage infiltration and the levels of TNF-α, IL-6 and HGF in the livers of Postn-deficient mice are significantly decreased compared with wild-type mice one day after PHx. In addition, overexpression of Postn leads to higher liver/body weight ratio and more Ki67-positive cells in the livers of mice and promotes hepatocyte proliferation in vitro. Moreover, liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, biliary epithelial cells and hepatocytes can express Postn after PHx, and Postn deficiency impairs angiogenesis during liver regeneration. Our findings indicate that Postn deficiency impairs liver regeneration in mice after PHx and Postn might be a novel promoter for liver regeneration.





Publication date: Available online 25 September 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Sophie Deckx, Ward Heggermont, Paolo Carai, Marieke Rienks, Tom Dresselaers, Uwe Himmelreich, Rick van Leeuwen, Wies Lommen, Jolanda van der Velden, Arantxa Gonzalez, Javier Diez, Anna-Pia Papageorgiou, Stephane Heymans

The small leucine-rich proteoglycan osteoglycin has been implicated in matrix homeostasis in different organs, including the ischemic heart. However, whether osteoglycin modulates cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis or inflammation in hypertensive heart disease and during aging remains unknown. Angiotensin-II-induced pressure overload increases cardiac osteoglycin expression, concomitant with the onset of inflammation and extracellular matrix deposition. Interestingly aging led to decreased cardiac levels of osteoglycin, yet absence of osteoglycin did not affect organ structure or cardiac function up to the age of 18months. However, Angiotensin-II infusion in combination with aging resulted in exaggerated cardiac fibrosis and inflammation in the osteoglycin null mice as compared to wild-type mice, resulting in increased diastolic dysfunction as determined by magnetic resonance imaging. In vitro, stimulation of bone marrow derived macrophages from osteoglycin null mice with Angiotensin-II resulted in significantly higher levels of ICAM-1 as well as pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines IL-1β and MCP-1 as compared to WT cells. Further, stimulation of human cardiac fibroblasts with osteoglycin reduced cell proliferation and inhibited TGF-β induced collagen gene expression. In mouse cardiac tissue, osteoglycin expression inversely correlated with TGF-β expression and in cardiac biopsies of aortic stenosis patients, osteoglycin expression is significantly higher than in control biopsies. Interestingly, osteoglycin levels were higher in patients with less severe myocardial fibrosis and overall in the aortic stenosis patients osteoglycin levels negatively correlated with collagen content in the myocardium. In conclusion, osteoglycin expression is increased in the heart in response to pressure overload and its absence results in increased cardiac inflammation and fibrosis resulting in increased diastolic dysfunction.





Publication date: Available online 13 September 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Ilanit Boyango, Uri Barash, Liat Fux, Inna Naroditsky, Neta Ilan, Israel Vlodavsky

Heparanase is an endoglucuronidase that uniquely cleaves the heparan sulfate side chains of heparan sulfate proteoglycans. This activity ultimately alters the structural integrity of the ECM and basement membrane that becomes more prone to cellular invasion by metastatic cancer cells and cells of the immune system. In addition, enzymatically inactive heparanase was found to facilitate the proliferation and survival of cancer cells by activation of signaling molecules such as Akt, Src, signal transducer and activation of transcription (Stat), and epidermal growth factor receptor. This function is thought to be executed by the C-terminal domain of heparanase (8c), because over expression of this domain in cancer cells accelerated signaling cascades and tumor growth. We have used the regulatory elements of the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) to direct the expression heparanase and the C-domain (8c) to the mammary gland epithelium of transgenic mice. Here, we report that mammary gland branching morphogenesis is increased in MMTV-heparanase and MMTV-8c mice, associating with increased Akt, Stat5 and Src phosphorylation. Furthermore, we found that the growth of tumors generated by mouse breast cancer cells and the resulting lung metastases are enhanced in MMTV-heparanase mice, thus supporting the notion that heparanase contributed by the tumor microenvironment (i.e., normal mammary epithelium) plays a decisive role in tumorigenesis. Remarkably, MMTV-8c mice develop spontaneous tumors in their mammary and salivary glands. Although this occurs at low rates and requires long latency, it demonstrates decisively the pro-tumorigenic capacity of heparanase signaling.





Publication date: Available online 11 September 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Federico Galvagni, Federica Nardi, Ottavia Spiga, Alfonso Trezza, Giulia Tarticchio, Rosanna Pellicani, Eva Andreuzzi, Elena Caldi, Paolo Toti, Gian Marco Tosi, Annalisa Santucci, Renato V. Iozzo, Maurizio Mongiat, Maurizio Orlandini

The glycoprotein CD93 has recently been recognized to play an important role in the regulation of the angiogenic process. Moreover, CD93 is highly expressed in the endothelial cells of tumor blood vessel and faintly expressed in the non-proliferating endothelium. Much evidence suggests that CD93 mediates adhesion in the endothelium. Here we identify Multimerin 2 (MMRN2), a pan-endothelial extracellular matrix protein, as a specific ligand for CD93. We found that CD93 and MMRN2 are co-expressed in the blood vessels of various human tumors. Moreover, disruption of the CD93-MMRN2 interaction reduced endothelial cell adhesion and migration, making the interaction of CD93 with MMRN2 an ideal target to block pathological angiogenesis. Model structures and docking studies served to envisage the region of CD93 and MMRN2 involved in the interaction. Site-directed mutagenesis identified different residue hotspots either directly or indirectly involved in the binding. We propose a molecular model in which the coiled-coil domain of MMRN2 is engaged by F238 of CD93. Altogether, these studies identify the key interaction surfaces of the CD93-MMRN2 complex and provide a framework for exploring how to inhibit angiogenesis by hindering the CD93-MMRN2 interaction.





Publication date: Available online 6 September 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Shyam K. Bandari, Anurag Purushothaman, Vishnu C. Ramani, Garrett J. Brinkley, Darshan S. Chandrashekar, Sooryanarayana Varambally, James A. Mobley, Yi Zhang, Elizabeth E. Brown, Israel Vlodavsky, Ralph D. Sanderson

The heparan sulfate-degrading enzyme heparanase promotes the progression of many cancers by driving tumor cell proliferation, metastasis and angiogenesis. Heparanase accomplishes this via multiple mechanisms including its recently described effect on enhancing biogenesis of tumor exosomes. Because we recently discovered that heparanase expression is upregulated in myeloma cells that survive chemotherapy, we were prompted to investigate the impact of anti-myeloma drugs on exosome biogenesis. When myeloma cells were exposed to the commonly utilized anti-myeloma drugs bortezomib, carfilzomib or melphalan, exosome secretion by the cells was dramatically enhanced. These chemotherapy-induced exosomes (chemoexosomes) have a proteome profile distinct from cells not exposed to drug including a dramatic elevation in the level of heparanase present as exosome cargo. The chemoexosome heparanase was not found inside the chemoexosome, but was present on the exosome surface where it was capable of degrading heparan sulfate embedded within an extracellular matrix. When exposed to myeloma cells, chemoexosomes transferred their heparanase cargo to those cells, enhancing their heparan sulfate degrading activity and leading to activation of ERK signaling and an increase in shedding of the syndecan-1 proteoglycan. Exposure of chemoexosomes to macrophages enhanced their secretion of TNF-α, an important myeloma growth factor. Moreover, chemoexosomes stimulated macrophage migration and this effect was blocked by H1023, a monoclonal antibody that inhibits heparanase enzymatic activity. These data suggest that anti-myeloma therapy ignites a burst of exosomes having a high level of heparanase that remodels extracellular matrix and alters tumor and host cell behaviors that likely contribute to chemoresistance and eventual patient relapse. Summary We find that anti-myeloma chemotherapy dramatically stimulates secretion of exosomes and alters exosome composition. Exosomes secreted during therapy contain high levels of heparanase on their surface that can degrade ECM and also can be transferred to both tumor and host cells, altering their behavior in ways that may enhance tumor survival and progression.





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

Author(s): Kelsey A. Robinson, Mei Sun, Carrie E. Barnum, Stephanie N. Weiss, Julianne Huegel, Snehal S. Shetye, Linda Lin, Daniel Saez, Sheila M. Adams, Renato V. Iozzo, Louis J. Soslowsky, David E. Birk

The small leucine-rich proteoglycans (SLRPs), decorin and biglycan, are key regulators of collagen fibril and matrix assembly. The goal of this work was to elucidate the roles of decorin and biglycan in tendon homeostasis. Our central hypothesis is that decorin and biglycan expression in the mature tendon would be critical for the maintenance of the structural and mechanical properties of healthy tendons. Defining the function(s) of these SLRPs in tendon homeostasis requires that effects in the mature tendon be isolated from their influence on development. Thus, we generated an inducible knockout mouse model that permits genetic ablation of decorin and biglycan expression in the mature tendon, while maintaining normal expression during development. Decorin and biglycan expression were knocked out in the mature patellar tendon with the subsequent turnover of endogenous SLRPs deposited prior to induction. The acute absence of SLRP expression was associated with changes in fibril structure with a general shift to larger diameter fibrils in the compound knockout tendons, together with fibril diameter heterogeneity. In addition, tendon mechanical properties were altered. Compared to wild-type controls, acute ablation of both genes resulted in failure of the tendon at lower loads, decreased stiffness, a trend towards decreased dynamic modulus, as well as a significant increase in percent relaxation and tissue viscosity. Collagen fiber realignment was also increased with a delayed and slower in response to load in the absence of expression. These structural and functional changes in response to an acute loss of decorin and biglycan expression in the mature tendon demonstrate a significant role for these SLRPs in adult tendon homeostasis.





Publication date: Available online 8 August 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Zoi Piperigkou, Marco Franchi, Martin Götte, Nikos K. Karamanos

Even though the role of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) in the modulation of breast cancer cells' behavior is thoroughly studied, the biological functions of its isoform, ERβ, are less elucidated. The suppression of ERβ in the aggressive ERα-negative MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells resulted in the inhibition of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and major changes in the basic functional properties and expression levels of certain matrix components of breast cancer cells. This arrest in metastatic potential of breast cancer cells suggests the contribution of ERβ in the induction of a more aggressive phenotype in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. The epigenetic alterations are responsible for the ability of the tumor cells to metastasize. Here, we report for the first time that the suppression of ERβ in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells leads to significant changes in the expression profiles of specific microRNAs, including miR-10b, miR-200b and miR-145. Growth of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells in estrogen-free medium has a diverse impact on miRNA expression and the behavior of these cells, suggesting the specific effect of estradiol on the miRNA expression profile depending on the ER status of breast cancer cells. Enhanced miR-10b expression or silencing of miR-145 clearly revealed that these microRNAs can regulate the functional properties, EMT program and the expression of major matrix components known to be implicated in breast cancer aggressiveness. Our data revealed that miR-10b is strongly implicated in the regulation of functional properties, EMT program and Erk1/2 signaling in shERβ MDA-MB-231 cells, thus affecting the extracellular matrix (ECM) composition, including syndecan-1, proteolytic behavior, especially MMP2, MMP7 and MMP9 expression and subsequently the aggressiveness of these cells. Accordingly, the inhibition of miR-145 expression significantly increased the aggressiveness of shERβ MDA-MB-231 cells and induced EMT. Moreover, miR-145 inhibition resulted in important changes in the gene and protein levels of ECM mediators, such as HER2 and several MMPs, whereas it significantly increased the phosphorylated levels of Erk1/2 kinases in these cells, suggesting the crucial role of miR-145 in this signaling pathway. These novel results suggest that the alterations in cell behavior and in ECM composition caused by the suppression of ERβ in MDA-MB-231 cells are closely related to certain epigenetic miRNA-induced alterations. Targeting the ERβ-regulated miR-10b and miR-145 is a promising tool for diagnosis and pharmaceutical targeting in breast cancer.





Publication date: Available online 8 August 2017
Source:Matrix Biology

Author(s): Ryoko Sato-Nishiuchi, Shaoliang Li, Fumi Ebisu, Kiyotoshi Sekiguchi

Laminins are major components of basement membranes that sustain a wide variety of stem cells. Among 15 laminin isoforms, laminin-511 and its E8 fragment (LM511E8) have been shown to strongly promote the adhesion and proliferation of human pluripotent stem cells. The aim of this study was to endow the cell-adhesive activity of laminin-511 on collagen matrices, thereby fabricating collagen-based culture scaffolds for stem cells with defined composition. To achieve this goal, we utilized the collagen-binding domain (CBD) of fibronectin to immobilize LM511E8 on collagen matrices. CBD was attached to the N-termini of individual laminin chains (α5E8, β1E8, γ1E8), producing LM511E8s having one, two, or three CBDs. While LM511E8 did not bind to collagen, CBD-attached LM511E8s (CBD-LM511E8s) exhibited significant collagen-binding activity, dependent on the number of attached CBDs. Human iPS cells were cultured on collagen-coated plates preloaded with CBD-LM511E8s. Although iPS cells did not attach or grow on collagen, they robustly proliferated on CBD-LM511E8-loaded collagen matrices, similar to the case with LM511E8-coated plates. Importantly, iPS cells proliferated and yielded round-shaped colonies even on collagen gels preloaded with CBD-LM511E8s. These results demonstrate that CBD-attached laminin E8 fragments are promising tools for fabrication of collagen-based matrices having the cell-adhesive activity of laminins.





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

Author(s): Vera Bergmeier, Julia Etich, Lena Pitzler, Christian Frie, Manuel Koch, Matthias Fischer, Gunter Rappl, Hinrich Abken, James J. Tomasek, Bent Brachvogel

After skin injury fibroblasts migrate into the wound and transform into contractile, extracellular matrix-producing myofibroblasts to promote skin repair. Persistent activation of myofibroblasts can cause excessive fibrotic reactions, but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. We used SMA-GFP transgenic mice to study myofibroblast recruitment and activation in skin wounds. Myofibroblasts were initially recruited to wounds three days post injury, their number reached a maximum after seven days and subsequently declined. Expression profiling showed that 1749 genes were differentially expressed in sorted myofibroblasts from wounds seven days post injury. Most of these genes were linked with the extracellular region and cell periphery including genes encoding for extracellular matrix proteins. A unique panel of core matrisome and matrisome-associated genes was differentially expressed in myofibroblasts and several genes not yet known to be linked to myofibroblast-mediated wound healing were found (e.g. Col24a1, Podnl1, Bvcan, Tinagl1, Thbs3, Adamts16, Adamts19, Cxcl's, Ccl's). In addition, a complex network of G protein-coupled signaling events was regulated in myofibroblasts (e.g. Adcy1, Plbc4, Gnas). Hence, this first characterization of a myofibroblast-specific expression profile at the peak of in situ granulation tissue formation provides important insights into novel target genes that may control excessive ECM deposition during fibrotic reactions.





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

Author(s): Susan C. MacLauchlan, Nicole E. Calabro, Yan Huang, Meenakshi Krishna, Tara Bancroft, Tanuj Sharma, Jun Yu, William C. Sessa, Frank Giordano, Themis R. Kyriakides

Thrombospondin-2 (TSP2) is a potent inhibitor of angiogenesis whose expression is dynamically regulated following injury. In the present study, it is shown that HIF-1α represses TSP2 transcription. Specifically, in vitro studies demonstrate that the prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor DMOG or hypoxia decrease TSP2 expression in fibroblasts. This effect is shown to be via a transcriptional mechanism as hypoxia does not alter TSP2 mRNA stability and this effect requires the TSP2 promoter. In addition, the documented repressive effect of nitric oxide (NO) on TSP2 is shown to be non-canonical and involves stabilization of hypoxia inducible factor-1a (HIF-1α). The regulation of TSP2 by hypoxia is supported by the in vivo observation that TSP2 has spatiotemporal expression distinct from regions of hypoxia in gastrocnemius muscle following murine hindlimb ischemia (HLI). A role for TSP2 regulation by HIF-1α is supported by the dysregulation of TSP2 expression in SM22α-cre HIF-1α KO mice following HLI. Indeed, there is a reduction in blood flow recovery in the SM22a-cre HIF-1α KO mice compared to littermate controls following HLI surgery, associated with impaired recovery and increased TSP2 levels. Moreover, SM22α-cre HIF-1α KO smooth muscle cells mice have increased TSP2 mRNA levels that persist in hypoxia. These findings identify a novel, ischemia-induced pro-angiogenic mechanism involving the transcriptional repression of TSP2 by HIF-1α.





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

Author(s): Francesco Ramirez, Cristina Caescu, Elisabeth Wondimu, Josephine Galatioto

Mutations in fibrillin-1 cause Marfan syndrome (MFS), the most common heritable disorder of connective tissue. Fibrillin-1 assemblies (microfibrils and elastic fibers) represent a unique dual-function component of the architectural matrix. The first role is structural for they endow tissues with tensile strength and elasticity, transmit forces across them and demarcate functionally discrete areas within them. The second role is instructive in that these macroaggregates modulate a large variety of sub-cellular processes by interacting with mechanosensors, and integrin and syndecan receptors, and by modulating the bioavailability of local TGFβ signals. The multifunctional, tissue-specific nature of fibrillin-1 assemblies is reflected in the variety of clinical manifestations and disease mechanisms associated with the MFS phenotype. Characterization of mice with ubiquitous or cell type-restricted fibrillin-1 deficiency has unraveled some pathophysiological mechanisms associated with the MFS phenotype, such as altered mechanotransduction in the heart, dysregulated TGFβ signaling in the ascending aorta and perturbed stem cell fate in the bone marrow. In each case, potential druggable targets have also been identified. However, the finding that distinct disease mechanisms underlie different organ abnormalities strongly argues for developing multi-drug strategies to mitigate or even prevent both life-threatening and morbid manifestations in pediatric and adult MFS patients.





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

Author(s): Pauline Nauroy, Sandrine Hughes, Alexandra Naba, Florence Ruggiero

Extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins are major components of most tissues and organs. In addition to their crucial role in tissue cohesion and biomechanics, they chiefly regulate various important biological processes during embryonic development, tissue homeostasis and repair. In essence, ECM proteins were defined as secreted proteins that localized in the extracellular space. The characterization of the human and mouse matrisomes provided the first definition of ECM actors by comprehensively listing ECM proteins and classified them into categories. Because zebrafish is becoming a popular model to study ECM biology, we sought to characterize the zebrafish matrisome using an in-silico gene-orthology-based approach. We report the identification of 1002 genes encoding the in-silico zebrafish matrisome. Using independent validations, we provide evidence for the robustness of the orthology-based approach. Moreover, we evaluated the orthology relationships between human and zebrafish genes at the whole-genome and matrisome levels and showed that the different categories of ECM genes are differentially subjected to evolutionary pressure. Last, we illustrate how the zebrafish matrisome list can be employed to annotate big data using the example of a previously published proteomic study of the skeletal ECM. The establishment of the zebrafish matrisome will undoubtedly facilitate the analysis of ECM components in “-omic” data sets.





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.





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