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1.  Nonselective Assembly of Fibrillin 1 and Fibrillin 2 in the Rodent Ocular Zonule and in Cultured Cells: Implications for Marfan Syndrome 
Fibrillins are the major constituent of tissue microfibrils, which form the ocular zonule. In Marfan syndrome (MFS), FBN1 mutations lead to ectopia lentis. The goal of this work was to investigate zonule composition and formation in fibrillin-deficient and wild-type mice.
Immunofluorescence staining of eyes from wild-type, Fbn1-deficient, and Fbn2-deficient mice, as well as other species, was performed using monospecific fibrillin 1 and fibrillin 2 antibodies. The zonule of Fbn1-deficient and Fbn2-deficient mice was studied by electron microscopy. Microfibril formation in vitro was evaluated by immunofluorescence microscopy of cultured nonpigmented ciliary epithelial cells and fibroblasts.
A zonule was present in both Fbn1-deficient and Fbn2-deficient mouse eyes. Immunofluorescence demonstrated that the zonule of Fbn1-deficient mice, wild-type mice, rats, and hamsters contained fibrillin 2. The zonule of Fbn2−/− mice contained fibrillin 1. Fibrillin 1 and fibrillin 2 colocalized in microfibrils formed in human nonpigmented ciliary epithelium cultures. Like fibrillin 1, fibrillin 2 microfibril assembly was fibronectin dependent and initiated by cell surface punctate deposits that elongated to form microfibrils.
These data suggest that fibrillin 1 assembly and fibrillin 2 assembly share similar mechanisms. Microfibril composition depends substantially on the local levels of fibrillin isoforms and is not highly selective in regard to the isoform. This raises the intriguing possibility that the zonule could be strengthened in MFS by inducing fibrillin 2 expression in ciliary epithelium. The presence of fibrillin 2 in the murine zonule and an intact zonule in Fbn1-knockout mice may limit the utility of rodent models for studying ectopia lentis in MFS.
Rodent zonule contains both fibrillin 1 and fibrillin 2.
PMCID: PMC3875392  PMID: 24265020
zonule; fibrillin; Marfan syndrome
2.  A Disintegrin-Like and Metalloprotease Domain Containing Thrombospondin Type 1 Motif-like 5 (ADAMTSL5) is a novel fibrillin-1-, fibrillin-2-, and heparin-binding member of the ADAMTS superfamily containing a netrin-like module 
ADAMTS-like proteins are related to ADAMTS metalloproteases by their similarity to ADAMTS ancillary domains. Here, we have characterized ADAMTSL5, a novel member of the superfamily with a unique modular organization that includes a single C-terminal netrin-like (NTR) module. Alternative splicing of ADAMTSL5 at its 5′ end generates two transcripts that encode different signal peptides, but the same mature protein. These transcripts differ in their translational efficiency. Recombinant ADAMTSL5 is a secreted, N-glycosylated 60 kDa glycoprotein located in the subcellular matrix, on the cell-surface, and in the medium of transfected cells. RT-PCR and western blot analysis of adult mouse tissues showed broad expression. Western blot analysis suggested proteolytic release of the NTR module in transfected cells as well as in some mouse tissues. Immunostaining during mouse organogenesis identified ADAMTSL5 in musculoskeletal tissues such as skeletal muscle, cartilage and bone, as well as in many epithelia. Affinity-chromatography demonstrated heparin-binding of ADAMTSL5 through its NTR-module. Recombinant ADAMTSL5 bound to both fibrillin-1 and fibrillin-2, and co-localized with fibrillin microfibrils in the extracellular matrix of cultured fibroblasts, but without discernible effect on microfibril assembly. ADAMTSL5 is the first family member shown to bind both fibrillin-1 and fibrillin-2. Like other ADAMTS proteins implicated in microfibril biology through identification of human and animal mutations, ADAMTSL5 could have a role in modulating microfibril functions.
PMCID: PMC3546522  PMID: 23010571
ADAMTS; ADAMTS-like; netrin-like module; fibrillin microfibril; heparin; alternative splicing
3.  ADAMTSL4, a Secreted Glycoprotein Widely Distributed in the Eye, Binds Fibrillin-1 Microfibrils and Accelerates Microfibril Biogenesis 
ADAMTSL4 mutations result in recessively inherited isolated ectopia lentis, a dysgenesis of the fibrillin-1–rich zonule of Zinn. This research shows that ADAMTSL4 binds fibrillin-1 microfibrils and accelerates their biogenesis, thus providing a potential underlying mechanism for this disorder.
ADAMTSL4 mutations cause autosomal recessive isolated ectopia lentis (IEL) and ectopia lentis et pupillae. Dominant FBN1 mutations cause IEL or syndromic ectopia lentis (Marfan syndrome and Weill-Marchesani syndrome). The authors sought to characterize recombinant ADAMTSL4 and the ocular distribution of ADAMTSL4 and to investigate whether ADAMTSL4 influences the biogenesis of fibrillin-1 microfibrils, which compose the zonule.
ADAMTSL4 was expressed by the transfection of HEK293F cells. Protein extracts and paraffin sections from human eyes were analyzed by Western blot analysis and by immunoperoxidase staining, respectively. Immunofluorescence was used to evaluate fibrillin-1 deposition in the ECM of fetal bovine nuchal ligament cells after culture in ADAMTSL4-conditioned medium or control medium. Confocal microscopy was performed to investigate ADAMTSL4 and fibrillin-1 colocalization in these cultures.
Western blot analysis identified ADAMTSL4 as a glycoprotein in HEK293F cells and as a major band of 150 kDa in ocular tissues including ciliary body, sclera, cornea, and retina. Immunoperoxidase staining showed a broad ocular distribution of ADAMTSL4, associated with both cells and fibrillar ECM. When cultured in ADAMTSL4-containing medium, fetal bovine nuchal ligament cells showed accelerated fibrillin-1 deposition in ECM. ADAMTSL4 colocalized with fibrillin-1 microfibrils in the ECM of these cells.
ADAMTSL4 is a secreted glycoprotein that is widely distributed in the human eye. Enhanced fibrillin-1 deposition in the presence of ADAMTSL4 and colocalization of ADAMTSL4 with fibrillin-1 in the ECM of cultured fibroblasts suggest a potential role for ADAMTSL4 in the formation or maintenance of the zonule.
PMCID: PMC3292378  PMID: 21989719
4.  An ADAMTSL2 Founder Mutation Causes Musladin-Lueke Syndrome, a Heritable Disorder of Beagle Dogs, Featuring Stiff Skin and Joint Contractures 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(9):e12817.
Musladin-Lueke Syndrome (MLS) is a hereditary disorder affecting Beagle dogs that manifests with extensive fibrosis of the skin and joints. In this respect, it resembles human stiff skin syndrome and the Tight skin mouse, each of which is caused by gene defects affecting fibrillin-1, a major component of tissue microfibrils. The objective of this work was to determine the genetic basis of MLS and the molecular consequence of the identified mutation.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We mapped the locus for MLS by genome-wide association to a 3.05 Mb haplotype on canine chromosome 9 (CFA9 (50.11–54.26; praw <10−7)), which was homozygous and identical-by-descent among all affected dogs, consistent with recessive inheritance of a founder mutation. Sequence analysis of a candidate gene at this locus, ADAMTSL2, which is responsible for the human TGFβ dysregulation syndrome, Geleophysic Dysplasia (GD), uncovered a mutation in exon 7 (c.660C>T; p.R221C) perfectly associated with MLS (p-value = 10−12). Murine ADAMTSL2 containing the p.R221C mutation formed anomalous disulfide-bonded dimers when transiently expressed in COS-1, HEK293F and CHO cells, and was present in the medium of these cells at lower levels than wild-type ADAMTSL2 expressed in parallel.
The genetic basis of MLS is a founder mutation in ADAMTSL2, previously shown to interact with latent TGF-β binding protein, which binds fibrillin-1. The molecular effect of the founder mutation on ADAMTSL2 is formation of disulfide-bonded dimers. Although caused by a distinct mutation, and having a milder phenotype than human GD, MLS nevertheless offers a new animal model for study of GD, and for prospective insights on mechanisms and pathways of skin fibrosis and joint contractures.
PMCID: PMC2941456  PMID: 20862248
5.  ADAMTSL2 mutations in geleophysic dysplasia demonstrate a role for ADAMTS-like proteins in TGF-β bioavailability regulation 
Nature genetics  2008;40(9):1119-1123.
Geleophysic dysplasia is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by short stature, brachydactyly, thick skin and cardiac valvular anomalies often responsible for an early death. Studying six geleophysic dysplasia families, we first mapped the underlying gene to chromosome 9q34.2 and identified five distinct nonsense and missense mutations in ADAMTSL2 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin repeats–like 2), which encodes a secreted glycoprotein of unknown function. Functional studies in HEK293 cells showed that ADAMTSL2 mutations lead to reduced secretion of the mutated proteins, possibly owing to the misfolding of ADAMTSL2. A yeast two-hybrid screen showed that ADAMTSL2 interacts with latent TGF-β–binding protein 1. In addition, we observed a significant increase in total and active TGF-β in the culture medium as well as nuclear localization of phosphorylated SMAD2 in fibroblasts from individuals with geleophysic dysplasia. These data suggest that ADAMTSL2 mutations may lead to a dysregulation of TGF-β signaling and may be the underlying mechanism of geleophysic dysplasia.
PMCID: PMC2675613  PMID: 18677313

Results 1-5 (5)