Glycosaminoglycans modulate fibronectin matrix assembly and are essential for matrix incorporation of tenascin-C.
We have investigated the role of glycosaminoglycans in fibronectin matrix assembly and the incorporation of tenascin-C into matrix fibrils. Chinese hamster ovary cell mutants with a total block in heparan and chondroitin sulfate production failed to assemble a fibronectin matrix, and incorporated no tenascin-C. Another mutant with reduced heparan sulfate produced a normal fibronectin matrix but failed to incorporate tenascin-C. Excess soluble glycosaminoglycans inhibited the binding of tenascin-C to purified fibronectin in ELISA, and completely blocked incorporation into matrix fibrils. Treating cultured cells with xyloside, which interferes with glycosaminoglycan attachment to proteoglycans, also completely blocked their ability to incorporate tenascin-C into matrix fibrils. We conclude that proteoglycans bound to fibronectin fibrils play a major role in binding tenascin-C to these fibrils. We examined more closely the large heparan sulfate proteoglycan, perlecan, and found that it co-localizes with tenascin-C and fibronectin in the matrix. The perlecan binding site in tenascin-C was mapped to the fibronectin type III domains 3-5, but this binding was strongly enhanced for the small splice variant, which is the major form incorporated into the matrix. Apparently when the alternative splice segment is inserted after domain 5 it inhibits perlecan binding. Thus heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycans, and perlecan in particular, may play a role in incorporation of the small splice variant of tenascin-C into fibronectin matrix fibrils.
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