Heparan sulfate (HS) plays a crucial role in the fibrosis associated with chronic allograft dysfunction by binding and presenting cytokines and growth factors to their receptors. These interactions critically depend on the distribution of 6-O-sulfated glucosamine residues, which is generated by glucosaminyl-6-O-sulfotransferases (HS6STs) and selectively removed by cell surface HS-6-O-endosulfatases (SULFs). Using human renal allografts we found increased expression of 6-O-sulfated HS domains in tubular epithelial cells during chronic rejection as compared with the controls. Stimulation of renal epithelial cells with TGF-? induced SULF2 expression. To examine the role of 6-O-sulfated HS in the development of fibrosis, we generated stable HS6ST1 and SULF2 overexpressing renal epithelial cells. Compared with mock transfectants, the HS6ST1 transfectants showed significantly increased binding of FGF2 (p = 0.0086) and pERK activation. HS6ST1 transfectants displayed a relative increase in mono-6-O-sulfated disaccharides accompanied by a decrease in iduronic acid 2-O-sulfated disaccharide structures. In contrast, SULF2 transfectants showed significantly reduced FGF2 binding and phosphorylation of ERK. Structural analysis of HS showed about 40% down-regulation in 6-O-sulfation with a parallel increase in iduronic acid mono-2-O-sulfated disaccharides. To assess the relevance of these data in vivo we established a murine model of fibrosis (unilateral ureteric obstruction (UUO)). HS-specific phage display antibodies (HS3A8 and RB4EA12) showed significant increase in 6-O-sulfation in fibrotic kidney compared with the control. These results suggest an important role of 6-O-sulfation in the pathogenesis of fibrosis associated with chronic rejection.
We have previously shown that fibroblast expression of ?11?1 integrin stimulates A549 carcinoma cell growth in a xenograft tumor model. To understand the molecular mechanisms whereby a collagen receptor on fibroblast can regulate tumor growth we have used a 3D heterospheroid system composed of A549 tumor cells and fibroblasts without (?11+/+) or with a deletion (?11-/-) in integrin ?11 gene. Our data show that ?11-/-/A549 spheroids are larger than ?11+/+/A549 spheroids, and that A549 cell number, cell migration and cell invasion in a collagen I gel are decreased in ?11-/-/A549 spheroids. Gene expression profiling of differentially expressed genes in fibroblast/A549 spheroids identified CXCL5 as one molecule down-regulated in A549 cells in the absence of ?11 on the fibroblasts. Blocking CXCL5 function with the CXCR2 inhibitor SB225002 reduced cell proliferation and cell migration of A549 cells within spheroids, demonstrating that the fibroblast integrin ?11?1 in a 3D heterospheroid context affects carcinoma cell growth and invasion by stimulating autocrine secretion of CXCL5. We furthermore suggest that fibroblast ?11?1 in fibroblast/A549 spheroids regulates interstitial fluid pressure by compacting the collagen matrix, in turn implying a role for stromal collagen receptors in regulating tensional hemostasis in tumors. In summary, blocking stromal ?11?1 integrin function might thus be a stroma-targeted therapeutic strategy to increase the efficacy of chemotherapy.
Heparan sulfates are complex sulfated molecules found in abundance at cell surfaces and in the extracellular matrix. They bind to and influence the activity of a variety of molecules like growth factors, proteases and morphogens and are thus involved in various cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. The mammalian EXT proteins have glycosyltransferase activities relevant for HS chain polymerization, however their exact role in this process is still confusing. In this review, we summarize current knowledge about the biochemical activities and some proposed functions of the members of the EXT protein family and their roles in human disease.
In diabetes the endothelium is either chronically or transiently exposed to hyperglycemic conditions. In addition, endothelial dysfunction in diabetes is related to changes in the inflammatory response and the turnover of extracellular matrix. This study was undertaken to study the effects of inflammatory stimuli on one particular matrix component, the heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycans (PGs) synthesized by primary human umbilical cord vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). Such cells were cultured in vitro in 5 mM and 25 mM glucose. The latter concentration was used to mimic hyperglycemic conditions in short-term experiments. HUVEC were also cultured in the presence of the inflammatory agents tumor necrosis factor ? (TNF-?), interleukin 1? (IL-1?), interleukin 1? (IL-1?) and transforming growth factor ? (TGF-?). The cells were labeled with (35)S-sulfate and (35)S-PGs were recovered for further analyses. The major part of the (35)S-PGs was secreted to the medium, irrespective of type of stimuli. Secreted (35)S-PGs were therefore isolated and subjected to further analyses. TNF-? and IL-1? slightly increased the release of (35)S-PGs to the culture medium, whereas IL-1? treatment gave a significant increase. The different treatments neither changed the ratio of (35)S-HS and (35)S-chondroitin sulfate (CS) nor the macromolecular properties of the (35)S-PGs. However, the (35)S-HS chains were slightly increased in size after TNF-? treatment, and slightly decreased after TGF-? treatment, but not affected by the other treatments. Compositional analysis of labeled disaccharides showed changes in the amount of 6-O-sulfated glucosamine residues after treatment with TNF-?, IL-1? and IL-1?. Western immunoblotting showed that major HSPGs recovered from these cells were collagen XVIII, perlecan and agrin, and that secretion of these distinct PGs was increased after IL-1? stimulation. Hence, short term inflammatory stimuli increased the release of HSPGs in HUVEC and affected both the size and sulfation pattern of HS, depending on type of stimuli.
The signaling of various molecules involved in development and regulation of cell growth are regulated by heparan sulfate (HS). Specific binding of HS to ligand proteins depends on the HS sulfation pattern, where the spacing and number of O-sulfate groups are of special importance. HS 2-O-sulfotransferase catalyzes 2-O-sulfation of glucuronic and iduronic acid residues with a 5-fold higher preference for iduronic acid, as inferred from previously determined kinetic parameters. To study in more detail the regulation of HS hexuronic acid 2-O-sulfation, we tested the ability of the enzyme to catalyze glucuronic acid 2-O-sulfation in polysaccharide mixtures with different glucuronic acid/iduronic acid ratios, using 3-phosphoadenosine 5-phospho[(35)S]sulfate as sulfate donor. The 2-O-sulfotransferase revealed a more pronounced preference for 2-O-sulfation of iduronic acid than predicted. Even incubations with a 99:1 ratio of glucuronic acid to iduronic acid resulted in almost exclusive iduronic acid 2-O-sulfation. Unexpectedly, when the 2-O-sulfotransferase was co-immunoprecipitated with the glucuronyl C5-epimerase (that converts glucuronic acid to iduronic acid), both glucuronic acid and iduronic acid residues were sulfated to the same extent when a polysaccharide containing only glucuronic acid was used as a substrate. Attempting to understand the mechanism by which extended regions of iduronic acid 2-O-sulfation are formed during HS biosynthesis, a (3)H-labeled N-sulfated iduronic acid containing octasaccharide substrate was incubated with the 2-O-sulfotransferase and 3-phosphoadenosine 5-phosphosulfate. The 2-O-sulfotransferase showed a preference for mono-2-O-sulfated substrates as compared with octasaccharides with no 2-O-sulfate group.
Heparan sulfate (HS) chains bind and modulate the signaling efficiency of many ligands, including members of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and platelet-derived growth factor families. We previously reported the structure of HS synthesized by embryonic fibroblasts from mice with a gene trap mutation of Ext1 that encodes a glycosyltransferase involved in HS chain elongation. The gene trap mutation results in low expression of Ext1, and, as a consequence, HS chain length is substantially reduced. In the present study, Ext1 mutant and wild-type mouse embryonic fibroblasts were analyzed for the functional consequences of the Ext1 mutation for growth factor signaling and interaction with the extracellular matrix. Here, we show that the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 in response to FGF2 stimulation was markedly decreased in the Ext1 mutant fibroblasts, whereas neither PDGF-BB nor FGF10 signaling was significantly affected. Furthermore, Ext1 mutants displayed reduced ability to attach to collagen I and to contract collagen lattices, even though no differences in the expression of collagen-binding integrins were observed. Reintroduction of Ext1in the Ext1 mutant fibroblasts rescued HS chain length, FGF2 signaling, and the ability of the fibroblasts to contract collagen. These data suggest that the length of the HS chains is a critical determinant of HS-protein interactions and emphasize the essential role of EXT1 in providing specific binding sites for growth factors and extracellular matrix proteins.
HS (heparan sulfate) proteoglycans are key regulators of vital processes in the body. HS chains with distinct sequences bind to various protein ligands, such as growth factors and morphogens, and thereby function as important regulators of protein gradient formation and signal transduction. HS is synthesized through the concerted action of many different ER (endoplasmic reticulum) and Golgi-resident enzymes. In higher organisms, many of these enzymes occur in multiple isoforms that differ in substrate specificity and spatial and temporal expression. In order to investigate how the structural complexity of HS has evolved, in the present study we focused on the starlet sea anemone (Nematostella vectensis), which belongs to the Anthozoa, which are considered to have retained many ancestral features. Members of all of the enzyme families involved in the generation and modification of HS were identified in Nematostella. Our results show that the enzymes are highly conserved throughout evolution, but the number of isoforms varies. Furthermore, the HS polymerases [Ext (exostosin) enzymes Ext1, Ext2 and Ext-like3] represent distinct subgroups, indicating that these three genes have already been present in the last common ancestor of Cnidaria and Bilateria. In situ hybridization showed up-regulation of certain enzymes in specific areas of the embryo at different developmental stages. The specific mRNA expression pattern of particular HS enzymes implies that they may play a specific role in HS modifications during larval development. Finally, biochemical analysis of Nematostella HS demonstrates that the sea anemone synthesizes a polysaccharide with a unique structure.
Heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycans play critical roles in a wide variety of biological processes such as growth factor signaling, cell adhesion, wound healing, and tumor metastasis. Functionally important interactions between HS and a variety of proteins depend on specific structural features within the HS chains. The fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) is frequently applied as a model organism to study HS function in development. Previous structural studies of Drosophila HS have been restricted to disaccharide composition, without regard to the arrangement of saccharide domains typically found in vertebrate HS. Here, we biochemically characterized Drosophila HS by selective depolymerization with nitrous acid. Analysis of the generated saccharide products revealed a novel HS design, involving a peripheral, extended, presumably single, N-sulfated domain linked to an N-acetylated sequence contiguous with the linkage to core protein. The N-sulfated domain may be envisaged as a heparin structure of unusually low O-sulfate content.
Stromal fibroblasts are important determinants of tumor cell behavior. They act to condition the tumor microenvironment, influence tumor growth, support tumor angiogenesis and affect tumor metastasis. Heparan sulfate proteoglycans, present both on tumor and stromal cells, interact with a large number of ligands including growth factors, their receptors, and structural components of the extracellular matrix. Being ubiquitously expressed in the tumor microenvironment heparan sulfate proteoglycans are candidates for playing central roles in tumor-stroma interactions. The objective of this work was to investigate the role of heparan sulfate expressed by stromal fibroblasts in modulating the growth of tumor cells and in controlling the interstitial fluid pressure in a 3-D model.
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