The C-Terminal Domain V of Perlecan Promotes β1 Integrin-Mediated Cell Adhesion, Binds Heparin, Nidogen and Fibulin-2 and Can be Modified by Glycosaminoglycans


R. Timpl, Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, D-82152 Martinsried, Germany


Domain V of the major basement-membrane proteoglycan perlecan, a domain which consists of three laminin type G (LG) and four epidermal-growth-factor-like (EG) modules, was obtained in recombinant form by transfecting embryonic kidney cells with an episomal expression vector. A major 90-kDa fragment V was obtained together with fragments Va (74 kDa) and Vb (26 kDa) which were generated by endogenous proteolysis in front of the most C-terminal LG module. All three fragments bound to a heparin affinity column and could be displaced at a moderate (0.2 M) NaCl concentration. Rotary-shadowing electron microscopy demonstrated a three-globule structure for fragment V. Fragment V also showed a strong immunological cross-reaction with tissue-derived perlecan, indicating that it was folded into a native structure. A further, larger fragment, Vc, was apparently substituted with heparan sulphate and/or chondroitin sulphate chains and failed to bind to heparin. Fragment V but not fragment Vc promoted a distinct adhesion of several cell lines and this could be blocked by antibodies against the integrin β1 chain. This domain may, however, represent only one of several cell-adhesive sites of perlecan. The recombinant perlecan fragment V bound in surface plasmon resonance assays to fibulin-2, laminin-nidogen complex, nidogen and two nidogen fragments. This indicated two different nidogen-binding epitopes on perlecan domain V with about a 10-fold difference in their affinities (Kd= 0.05–0.2 μM and about 2 μM). Perlecan domain V therefore seems to participate in the supramolecular assembly and cell connections of basement membranes.