Mechanical forces regulate the interactions of fibronectin and collagen I in extracellular matrix.
ABSTRACT: Despite the crucial role of extracellular matrix (ECM) in directing cell fate in healthy and diseased tissues--particularly in development, wound healing, tissue regeneration and cancer--the mechanisms that direct the assembly and regulate hierarchical architectures of ECM are poorly understood. Collagen I matrix assembly in vivo requires active fibronectin (Fn) fibrillogenesis by cells. Here we exploit Fn-FRET probes as mechanical strain sensors and demonstrate that collagen I fibres preferentially co-localize with more-relaxed Fn fibrils in the ECM of fibroblasts in cell culture. Fibre stretch-assay studies reveal that collagen I's Fn-binding domain is responsible for the mechano-regulated interaction. Furthermore, we show that Fn-collagen interactions are reciprocal: relaxed Fn fibrils act as multivalent templates for collagen assembly, but once assembled, collagen fibres shield Fn fibres from being stretched by cellular traction forces. Thus, in addition to the well-recognized, force-regulated, cell-matrix interactions, forces also tune the interactions between different structural ECM components.
Project description:The filtration unit of the kidney is the glomerulus, a capillary network supported by mesangial cells and extracellular matrix (ECM). Glomerular function is compromised in diabetic nephropathy (DN) by uncontrolled buildup of ECM, especially type IV collagen, which progressively occludes the capillaries. Increased levels of the ECM protein fibronectin (FN) are also present; however, its role in DN is unknown. Mesangial cells cultured under high glucose conditions provide a model system for studying the effect of elevated glucose on deposition of FN and collagen IV. Imaging of mesangial cell cultures and analysis of detergent-insoluble matrix show that, under high glucose conditions, mesangial cells assembled significantly more FN matrix, independent of FN protein levels. High glucose conditions induced protein kinase C-dependent ?1 integrin activation, and FN assembly in normal glucose was increased by stimulation of integrin activity with Mn(2+). Collagen IV incorporation into the matrix was also increased under high glucose conditions and colocalized with FN fibrils. An inhibitor of FN matrix assembly prevented collagen IV deposition, demonstrating dependence of collagen IV on FN matrix. We conclude that high glucose induces FN assembly, which contributes to collagen IV accumulation. Enhanced assembly of FN might facilitate dysregulated ECM accumulation in DN.
Project description:The extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins fibronectin (FN) and type I collagen (collagen I) are codistributed in many tissues, and collagens have been shown to depend on an FN matrix for fibrillogenesis. Microscopic analysis of a fibroblast ECM showed colocalization of procollagen I with FN fibrils, and proteolytic cleavage of procollagen to initiate fibril formation was significantly reduced with inhibition of FN matrix assembly. We examined the role of FN matrix in procollagen processing by the C-propeptide proteinase bone morphogenetic protein 1 (BMP-1). We found that BMP-1 binds to a cell-assembled ECM in a dose-dependent manner and that, like procollagen, BMP-1 colocalizes with FN fibrils in the matrix microenvironment. Binding studies with FN fragments identified a binding site in FN's primary heparin-binding domain. In solution, BMP-1-FN interactions and BMP-1 cleavage of procollagen I were both enhanced by the presence of heparin, suggesting a role for heparin in complex formation during proteolysis. Indeed, addition of heparin enhanced the rate of procollagen cleavage by matrix-bound BMP-1. Our results show that matrix localization of this proteinase facilitates the initiation of collagen assembly and suggest a model in which FN matrix and associated heparan sulfate act as a scaffold to organize enzyme and substrate for procollagen processing.
Project description:The ability of cells to sense and respond to mechanical cues from the surrounding environment has been implicated as a key regulator of cell differentiation, migration, and proliferation. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is an oft-overlooked component of the interface between cells and their surroundings. Cells assemble soluble ECM proteins into insoluble fibrils with unique mechanical properties that can alter the mechanical cues a cell receives. In this study, we construct a model that predicts the dynamics of cellular traction force generation and subsequent assembly of fibrils of the ECM protein fibronectin (FN). FN fibrils are the primary component in primordial ECM and, as such, FN assembly is a critical component in the cellular mechanical response. The model consists of a network of Hookean springs, each representing an extensible domain within an assembling FN fibril. As actomyosin forces stretch the spring network, simulations predict the resulting traction force and FN fibril formation. The model accurately predicts FN fibril morphometry and demonstrates a mechanism by which FN fibril assembly regulates traction force dynamics in response to mechanical stimuli and varying surrounding substrate stiffness.
Project description:Cells respond to mechanical cues from the substrate to which they are attached. These mechanical cues drive cell migration, proliferation, differentiation, and survival. Previous studies have highlighted three specific mechanisms through which substrate stiffness directly alters cell function: increasing stiffness drives (1) larger contractile forces; (2) increased cell spreading and size; and (3) altered nuclear deformation. While studies have shown that substrate mechanics are an important cue, the role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) has largely been ignored. The ECM is a crucial component of the mechanosensing system for two reasons: (1) many ECM fibrils are assembled by application of cell-generated forces, and (2) ECM proteins have unique mechanical properties that will undoubtedly alter the local stiffness sensed by a cell. We specifically focused on the role of the ECM protein fibronectin (FN), which plays a critical role in de novo tissue production. In this study, we first measured the effects of substrate stiffness on human embryonic fibroblasts by plating cells onto microfabricated pillar arrays (MPAs) of varying stiffness. Cells responded to increasing substrate stiffness by generating larger forces, spreading to larger sizes, and altering nuclear geometry. These cells also assembled FN fibrils across all stiffnesses, with optimal assembly occurring at approximately 6 kPa. We then inhibited FN assembly, which resulted in dramatic reductions in contractile force generation, cell spreading, and nuclear geometry across all stiffnesses. These findings suggest that FN fibrils play a critical role in facilitating cellular responses to substrate stiffness.
Project description: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-?) 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-?1 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-?1 signaling to drive EMT.
Project description:In the process of matrix assembly, multivalent extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins are induced to self-associate and to interact with other ECM proteins to form fibrillar networks. Matrix assembly is usually initiated by ECM glycoproteins binding to cell surface receptors, such as fibronectin (FN) dimers binding to ?5ß1 integrin. Receptor binding stimulates FN self-association mediated by the N-terminal assembly domain and organizes the actin cytoskeleton to promote cell contractility. FN conformational changes expose additional binding sites that participate in fibril formation and in conversion of fibrils into a stabilized, insoluble form. Once assembled, the FN matrix impacts tissue organization by contributing to the assembly of other ECM proteins. Here, we describe the major steps, molecular interactions, and cellular mechanisms involved in assembling FN dimers into fibrillar matrix while highlighting important issues and major questions that require further investigation.
Project description:Transformations of extracellular matrix (ECM) accompany pathological tissue changes, yet how cell-ECM crosstalk drives these processes remains unknown as adequate tools to probe forces or mechanical strains in tissues are lacking. Here, we introduce a new nanoprobe to assess the mechanical strain of fibronectin (Fn) fibers in tissue, based on the bacterial Fn-binding peptide FnBPA5. FnBPA5 exhibits nM binding affinity to relaxed, but not stretched Fn fibers and is shown to exhibit strain-sensitive ECM binding in cell culture in a comparison with an established Fn-FRET probe. Staining of tumor tissue cryosections shows large regions of relaxed Fn fibers and injection of radiolabeled 111In-FnBPA5 in a prostate cancer mouse model reveals specific accumulation of 111In-FnBPA5 in tumor with prolonged retention compared to other organs. The herein presented approach enables to investigate how Fn fiber strain at the tissue level impacts cell signaling and pathological progression in different diseases.
Project description:Extracellular matrix (ECM) composition and structural integrity is one of many factors that influence cellular differentiation. Fibronectin (FN) which is in many tissues the most abundant ECM protein forms a unique fibrillary network. FN homes several binding sites for sulfated glycosaminoglycans (sGAG), such as heparin (Hep), which was previously shown to influence FN conformation and protein binding. Synthetically sulfated hyaluronan derivatives (sHA) can serve as model molecules with a well characterized sulfation pattern to study sGAG-FN interaction. Here is shown that the low-sulfated sHA (sHA1) interacts with FN and influences fibril assembly. The interaction of FN fibrils with sHA1 and Hep, but not with non-sulfated HA was visualized by immunofluorescent co-staining. FRET analysis of FN confirmed the presence of more extended fibrils in human bone marrow stromal cells (hBMSC)-derived ECM in response to sHA1 and Hep. Although both sHA1 and Hep affected FN conformation, exclusively sHA1 increased FN protein level and led to thinner fibrils. Further, only sHA1 had a pro-osteogenic effect and enhanced the activity of tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase. We hypothesize that the sHA1-triggered change in FN assembly influences the entire ECM network and could be the underlying mechanism for the pro-osteogenic effect of sHA1 on hBMSC.
Project description:Type XIII collagen is a transmembrane collagen, which is known to exist also as a soluble variant due to ectodomain shedding. Earlier studies with the recombinant ectodomain have shown it to interact in vitro with a number of extracellular matrix proteins, e.g. Fn (fibronectin). In view of its strong binding to Fn, we examined in the present study whether the released soluble ectodomain can bind to the fibrillar Fn matrix under cell-culture conditions and, if so, influence its assembly. In this study, we demonstrate that the type XIII collagen ectodomain of mammalian cells can associate with Fn fibres and may eventually hamper incorporation of the fibrillar Fn meshwork. The association between type XIII collagen and Fn was implicated to be mediated by the C-terminal end of type XIII collagen and the N-terminal end of Fn. The results presented here imply that the shedding of the type XIII collagen ectodomain results in a biologically active molecule capable of remodelling the structure of the pericellular matrix.