Adhesive Peptide Sequences Regulate Valve Interstitial Cell Adhesion, Phenotype and Extracellular Matrix Deposition.
Knowledge of how extracellular matrix (ECM) binding impacts valve interstitial cells (VICs) is critical not only to better understanding the etiology of valvular diseases but also to constructing living valve substitutes that can grow and remodel. Use of ECM-mimicking adhesive peptides with specific affinity to different receptors provides insights into adhesion-mediated cell signaling and downstream outcomes. Expression of adhesion receptors by VICs was assessed by flow cytometry and used to guide the choice of peptides studied. The peptide RGDS with affinity to multiple integrin receptors, and specific receptor-targeting peptides DGEA (integrin α2β1), YIGSR (67kDa laminin/elastin receptor; 67LR), and VAPG (67LR) were incorporated into hydrogels to investigate their effects on VICs. DGEA, YIGSR, and VAPG alone were insufficient to induce stable VIC adhesion. As a result, these peptides were studied in combination with 1 mM RGDS. For VICs cultured on two-dimensional hydrogel surfaces, YIGSR and VAPG down-regulated the expression of smooth muscle α-actin (myofibroblast activation marker); DGEA promoted VIC adhesion and VIC-mediated ECM deposition and inhibited the activity of alkaline phosphatase (osteogenic differentiation marker). Further, YIGSR and DGEA in combination promoted ECM deposition while inhibiting both myofibroblastic and osteogenic differentiation. However, VICs behaved differently to adhesive ligands when cultured within three-dimensional hydrogels, with most VICs assuming a healthy, quiescent phenotype under all peptide conditions tested. DGEA promoted ECM deposition by VICs within hydrogels. Overall, we demonstrate that the presentation of defined peptides targeting specific adhesion receptors can be used to regulate VIC adhesion, phenotype and ECM synthesis.
Wu, Y; Grande-Allen, KJ; West, JL
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