Fibrogenesis is usually initiated when regenerative processes have failed and/or chronic inflammation occurs. It is characterised by the activation of tissue fibroblasts and dysregulated synthesis of extracellular matrix proteins. FHL2 (four-and-a-half LIM domain protein 2) is a scaffolding protein that interacts with numerous cellular proteins, regulating signalling cascades and gene transcription. It is involved in tissue remodelling and tumour progression. Recent data suggest that FHL2 might support fibrogenesis by maintaining the transcriptional expression of alpha smooth muscle actin and the excessive synthesis and assembly of matrix proteins in activated fibroblasts. Here, we present evidence that FHL2 does not promote bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis, but rather suppresses this process by attenuating lung inflammation. Loss of FHL2 results in increased expression of the pro-inflammatory matrix protein tenascin C and downregulation of the macrophage activating C-type lectin receptor DC-SIGN. Consequently, FHL2 knockout mice developed a severe and long-lasting lung pathology following bleomycin administration due to enhanced expression of tenascin C and impaired activation of inflammation-resolving macrophages.
Tenascin proteins in the extracellular matrix regulate cell adhesion either directly or by interacting with fibronectin. This increases cell motility and is implicated in inflammation and metastasis of several tumor types.
Tenascins are a family of extracellular matrix proteins that evolved in early chordates. There are four family members: tenascin-X, tenascin-R, tenascin-W, and tenascin-C. Tenascin-X associates with type I collagen, and its absence can cause Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. In contrast, tenascin-R is concentrated in perineuronal nets. The expression of tenascin-C and tenascin-W is developmentally regulated, and both are expressed during disease (e.g., both are associated with cancer stroma and tumor blood vessels). In addition, tenascin-C is highly induced by infections and inflammation. Accordingly, the tenascin-C knockout mouse has a reduced inflammatory response. All tenascins have the potential to modify cell adhesion either directly or through interaction with fibronectin, and cell-tenascin interactions typically lead to increased cell motility. In the case of tenascin-C, there is a correlation between elevated expression and increased metastasis in several types of tumors.
Tenascins are large glycoproteins found in the extracellular matrix of many embryonic and adult tissues. Tenascin-C is a well-studied biomarker known for its high overexpression in the stroma of most solid cancers. Tenascin-W, the least studied member of the family, is highly expressed in the stroma of colon and breast tumors and in gliomas, but not in the corresponding normal tissues. Other solid tumors have not been analyzed. The present study was undertaken to determine whether tenascin-W could serve as a cancer-specific extracellular matrix protein in a broad range of solid tumors.
We analyzed the expression of tenascin-W and tenascin-C by immunoblotting and by immunohistochemistry on multiple frozen tissue microarrays of carcinomas of the pancreas, kidney and lung as well as melanomas and compared them to healthy tissues.
From all healthy adult organs tested, only liver and spleen showed detectable levels of tenascin-W, suggesting that tenascin-W is absent from most human adult organs under normal, non-pathological conditions. In contrast, tenascin-W was detectable in the majority of melanomas and their metastases, as well as in pancreas, kidney, and lung carcinomas. Comparing lung tumor samples and matching control tissues for each patient revealed a clear overexpression of tenascin-W in tumor tissues. Although the number of samples examined is too small to draw statistically significant conclusions, there seems to be a tendency for increased tenascin-W expression in higher grade tumors. Interestingly, in most tumor types, tenascin-W is also expressed in close proximity to blood vessels, as shown by CD31 co-staining of the samples.
The present study extends the tumor biomarker potential of tenascin-W to a broad range of solid tumors and shows its accessibility from the blood stream for potential therapeutic strategies.
Tenascins are extracellular matrix glycoproteins associated with cell motility, proliferation and differentiation. Tenascin-C inhibits cell spreading by binding to fibronectin; tenascin-R and tenascin-X also have anti-adhesive properties in vitro. Here we have studied the adhesion modulating properties of the most recently characterized tenascin, tenascin-W. C2C12 cells, a murine myoblast cell line, will form broad lamellipodia with stress fibers and focal adhesion complexes after culture on fibronectin. In contrast, C2C12 cells cultured on tenascin-W fail to spread and form stress fibers or focal adhesion complexes, and instead acquire a multipolar shape with short, actin-tipped pseudopodia. The same stellate morphology is observed when C2C12 cells are cultured on a mixture of fibronectin and tenascin-W, or on fibronectin in the presence of soluble tenascin-W. Tenascin-W combined with fibronectin also inhibits the spreading of mouse embryo fibroblasts when compared with cells cultured on fibronectin alone. The similarity between the adhesion modulating effects of tenascin-W and tenascin-C in vitro led us to study the possibility of tenascin-W compensating for tenascin-C in tenascin-C knockout mice, especially during epidermal wound healing. Dermal fibroblasts harvested from a tenascin-C knockout mouse express tenascin-W, but dermal fibroblasts taken from a wild type mouse do not. However, there is no upregulation of tenascin-W in the dermis of tenascin-C knockout mice, or in the granulation tissue of skin wounds in tenascin-C knockout animals. Similarly, tenascin-X is not upregulated in early wound granulation tissue in the tenascin-C knockout mice. Thus, tenascin-W is able to inhibit cell spreading in vitro and it is upregulated in dermal fibroblasts taken from the tenascin-C knockout mouse, but neither it nor tenascin-X are likely to compensate for missing tenascin-C during wound healing.
tenascin; extracellular matrix; fibronectin; wound healing; C2C12.
A whole-genome RNAi screen identified phy-1 as a novel interaction partner of the Caenorhabditis elegans gene ten-1. It is shown that the catalytic subunit of prolyl 4-hydroxylase, which is coded for by phy-1, is important for type IV collagen secretion and that the transmembrane protein TEN-1 links the epidermis to muscle cells through the basement membrane.
Teneurins are a family of phylogenetically conserved proteins implicated in pattern formation and morphogenesis. The sole orthologue in Caenorhabditis elegans, ten-1, is important for hypodermal cell migration, neuronal migration, path finding and fasciculation, gonad development, and basement membrane integrity of some tissues. However, the mechanisms of TEN-1 action remain to be elucidated. Using a genome-wide RNA interference approach, we identified phy-1 as a novel interaction partner of ten-1. phy-1 codes for the catalytic domain of collagen prolyl 4-hydroxylase. Loss of phy-1 significantly enhanced the embryonic lethality of ten-1 null mutants. Double-mutant embryos arrested during late elongation with epidermal defects, disruption of basement membranes, and detachment of body wall muscles. We found that deletion of phy-1 caused aggregation of collagen IV in body wall muscles in elongated embryos and triggered the loss of tissue integrity in ten-1 mutants. In addition, phy-1 and ten-1 each genetically interact with genes encoding collagen IV. These findings support a functional mechanism in which loss of ten-1, together with a reduction of assembled and secreted basement membrane collagen IV protein, leads to detachment of the epidermis from muscle cells during late elongation of the embryo when mechanical stress is generated by muscle contractions.
Teneurins are type II transmembrane proteins expressed during pattern formation and neurogenesis with an intracellular domain that can be transported to the nucleus and an extracellular domain that can be shed into the extracellular milieu. In Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, and mouse the knockdown or knockout of teneurin expression can lead to abnormal patterning, defasciculation, and abnormal pathfinding of neurites, and the disruption of basement membranes. Here, we have identified and analyzed teneurins from a broad range of metazoan genomes for nuclear localization sequences, protein interaction domains, and furin cleavage sites and have cloned and sequenced the intracellular domains of human and avian teneurins to analyze alternative splicing. The basic organization of teneurins is highly conserved in Bilateria: all teneurins have epidermal growth factor (EGF) repeats, a cysteine-rich domain, and a large region identical in organization to the carboxy-half of prokaryotic YD-repeat proteins. Teneurins were not found in the genomes of sponges, cnidarians, or placozoa, but the choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollis has a gene encoding a predicted teneurin with a transmembrane domain, EGF repeats, a cysteine-rich domain, and a region homologous to YD-repeat proteins. Further examination revealed that most of the extracellular domain of the M. brevicollis teneurin is encoded on a single huge 6,829-bp exon and that the cysteine-rich domain is similar to sequences found in an enzyme expressed by the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. This leads us to suggest that teneurins are complex hybrid fusion proteins that evolved in a choanoflagellate via horizontal gene transfer from both a prokaryotic gene and a diatom or algal gene, perhaps to improve the capacity of the choanoflagellate to bind to its prokaryotic prey. As choanoflagellates are considered to be the closest living relatives of animals, the expression of a primitive teneurin by an ancestral choanoflagellate may have facilitated the evolution of multicellularity and complex histogenesis in metazoa.
Teneurin; Odz; Ten-m; evolution; horizontal gene transfer; choanoflagellate; Monosiga brevicollis
Teneurin-1 is a member of a family of type II transmembrane proteins conserved from C.elegans to vertebrates. Teneurin expression in vertebrates is best studied in mouse and chicken, where the four members teneurin-1 to -4 are predominantly expressed in the developing nervous system in area specific patterns. Based on their distinct, complementary expression a possible function in the establishment of proper connectivity in the brain was postulated. However, the transcription factors contributing to these distinctive expression patterns are largely unknown. Emx2 is a homeobox transcription factor, known to be important for area specification in the developing cortex. A study of Emx2 knock-out mice suggested a role of Emx2 in regulating patterned teneurin expression.
5'RACE of human teneurin-1 revealed new alternative untranslated exons that are conserved in mouse and chicken. Closer analysis of the conserved region around the newly identified transcription start revealed promoter activity that was induced by EMX2. Mutation of a predicted homeobox binding site decreased the promoter activity in different reporter assays in vitro and in vivo in electroporated chick embryos. We show direct in vivo binding of EMX2 to the newly identified promoter element and finally confirm that the endogenous alternate transcript is specifically upregulated by EMX2.
We found that human teneurin-1 is directly regulated by EMX2 at a newly identified and conserved promoter region upstream of the published transcription start site, establishing teneurin-1 as the first human EMX2 target gene. We identify and characterize the EMX2 dependent promoter element of human teneurin-1.
We present a perspective on the molecular evolution of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in metazoa that draws on research publications and data from sequenced genomes and expressed sequence tag libraries. ECM components do not function in isolation, and the biological ECM system or “adhesome” also depends on posttranslational processing enzymes, cell surface receptors, and extracellular proteases. We focus principally on the adhesome of internal tissues and discuss its origins at the dawn of the metazoa and the expansion of complexity that occurred in the chordate lineage. The analyses demonstrate very high conservation of a core adhesome that apparently evolved in a major wave of innovation in conjunction with the origin of metazoa. Integrin, CD36, and certain domains predate the metazoa, and some ECM-related proteins are identified in choanoflagellates as predicted sequences. Modern deuterostomes and vertebrates have many novelties and elaborations of ECM as a result of domain shuffling, domain innovations and gene family expansions. Knowledge of the evolution of metazoan ECM is important for understanding how it is built as a system, its roles in normal tissues and disease processes, and has relevance for tissue engineering, the development of artificial organs, and the goals of synthetic biology.
The microenvironment hosting a tumor actively participates in regulating tumor cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. Among the extracellular matrix proteins enriched in the stroma of carcinomas are the tenascin family members tenascin-C and tenascin-W. Whereas tenascin-C overexpression in gliomas is known to correlate with poor prognosis, the status of tenascin-W in brain tumors has not been investigated so far. In the present study, we analyzed protein levels of tenascin-W in 38 human gliomas and found expression of tenascin-W in 80% of the tumor samples, whereas no tenascin-W could be detected in control, nontumoral brain tissues. Double immunohistochemical staining of tenascin-W and von Willebrand factor revealed that tenascin-W is localized around blood vessels, exclusively in tumor samples. In vitro, the presence of tenascin-W increased the proportion of elongated human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and augmented the mean speed of cell migration. Furthermore, tenascin-W triggered sprouting of HUVEC spheroids to a similar extent as the proangiogenic factor tenascin-C. In conclusion, our study identifies tenascin-W as a candidate biomarker for brain tumor angiogenesis that could be used as a molecular target for therapy irrespective of the glioma subtype.—Martina, E., Degen, M., Rüegg, C., Merlo, A., Lino, M. M., Chiquet-Ehrismann, R., Brellier, F. Tenascin-W is a specific marker of glioma-associated blood vessels and stimulates angiogenesis in vitro.
neovascularization; secreted glycoproteins
The Caenorhabditis elegans teneurin ortholog, ten-1, plays an important role in gonad and pharynx development. We found that lack of TEN-1 does not affect germline proliferation but leads to local basement membrane deficiency and early gonad disruption. Teneurin is expressed in the somatic precursor cells of the gonad that appear to be crucial for gonad epithelialization and basement membrane integrity. Ten-1 null mutants also arrest as L1 larvae with malformed pharynges and disorganized pharyngeal basement membranes. The pleiotropic phenotype of ten-1 mutant worms is similar to defects found in basement membrane receptor mutants ina-1 and dgn-1 as well as in the mutants of the extracellular matrix component laminin, epi-1. We show that the ten-1 mutation is synthetic lethal with mutations of genes encoding basement membrane components and receptors due to pharyngeal or hypodermal defects. This indicates that TEN-1 could act redundantly with integrin INA-1, dystroglycan DGN-1, and laminin EPI-1 in C. elegans development. Moreover, ten-1 deletion sensitizes worms to loss of nidogen nid-1 causing a pharynx unattached phenotype in ten-1;nid-1 double mutants. We conclude that TEN-1 is important for basement membrane maintenance and/or adhesion in particular organs and affects the function of somatic gonad precursor cells.
Teneurins are a unique family of transmembrane proteins conserved from C. elegans and D. melanogaster to mammals. In vertebrates there are four paralogs (teneurin-1 to -4), all of which are expressed prominently in the developing central nervous system.
Analysis of teneurin-1 expression in the developing chick brain by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry defined a unique, distinct expression pattern in interconnected regions of the brain. Moreover we found complementary patterns of teneurin-1 and-2 expression in many parts of the brain, including the retina, optic tectum, olfactory bulb, and cerebellum as well as in brain nuclei involved in processing of sensory information. Based on these expression patterns, we suspect a role for teneurins in neuronal connectivity.
In contrast to the cell-surface staining of the antibody against the extracellular domain, an antibody recognizing the intracellular domain revealed nuclear staining in subpopulations of neurons and in undifferentiated mesenchyme. Western blot analysis of brain lysates showed the presence of N-terminal fragments of teneurin-1 containing the intracellular domain indicating that proteolytic processing occurs. Finally, the teneurin-1 intracellular domain was found to contain a nuclear localization signal, which is required for nuclear localization in transfected cells.
Teneurin-1 and -2 are expressed by distinct interconnected populations of neurons in the developing central nervous system. Our data support the hypothesis that teneurins can be proteolytically processed leading to the release of the intracellular domain and its translocation to the nucleus.
Agrin is a basement membrane protein crucial for development and maintenance of the neuromuscular junction in vertebrates. The C. elegans genome harbors a putative agrin gene agr-1. We have cloned the corresponding cDNA to determine the primary structure of the protein and expressed its recombinant fragments to raise specific antibodies. The domain organization of AGR-1 is very similar to the vertebrate orthologues. C. elegans agrin contains a signal sequence for secretion, seven follistatin domains, three EGF-like repeats and two laminin G domains. AGR-1 loss of function mutants did not exhibit any overt phenotypes and did not acquire resistance to the acetylcholine receptor agonist levamisole. Furthermore, crossing them with various mutants for components of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex with impaired muscle function did not lead to an aggravation of the phenotypes. Promoter-GFP translational fusion as well as immunostaining of worms revealed expression of agrin in buccal epithelium and the protein deposition in the basal lamina of the pharynx. Furthermore, dorsal and ventral IL1 head neurons and distal tip cells of the gonad arms are sources of agrin production, but no expression was detectable in body muscles or in the motoneurons innervating them. Recombinant worm AGR-1 fragment is able to cluster vertebrate dystroglycan in cultured cells, implying a conservation of this interaction, but since neither of these proteins is expressed in muscle of C. elegans, this interaction may be required in different tissues. The connections between muscle cells and the basement membrane, as well as neuromuscular junctions, are structurally distinct between vertebrates and nematodes.
We searched by a cDNA subtraction screen for differentially expressed transcripts in MCF-7 mammary carcinoma cells grown on tenascin-C versus fibronectin. On tenascin-C, cells had irregular shapes with many processes, whereas on fibronectin they were flat with a cobble stone–like appearance. We found elevated levels of 14-3-3 tau transcripts and protein in cells grown on tenascin-C. To investigate the consequences of an increased level of this phospho-serine/threonine–binding adaptor protein, we transfected MCF-7 cells with a construct encoding full-length 14-3-3 tau protein and selected clones with the highest expression levels. The morphology of these cells on tenascin-C was flat, resembling that of cells on fibronectin. This was reflected by a similar pattern of F-actin staining on either substratum. Furthermore, the growth rate on tenascin-C was increased compared with the parental cells. After transient transfection of HT1080 fibrosarcoma and T98G glioblastoma cells with 14-3-3 tau, only the 14-3-3 tau–expressing cells were able to adhere and survive on tenascin-C, whereas all cells adhered well on fibronectin. Therefore, we postulate that tenascin-C promotes the growth of tumor cells by causing an increase in the expression of 14-3-3 tau, which in turn has a positive effect on tumor cell adhesion and growth.
extracellular matrix; cancer; growth; cell adhesion; adapter protein
The Drosophila gene ten-m/odz is the only pair rule gene identified to date which is not a transcription factor. In an attempt to analyze the structure and the function of ten-m/odz in mouse, we isolated four murine ten-m cDNAs which code for proteins of 2,700–2,800 amino acids. All four proteins (Ten-m1–4) lack signal peptides at the NH2 terminus, but contain a short hydrophobic domain characteristic of transmembrane proteins, 300–400 amino acids after the NH2 terminus. About 200 amino acids COOH-terminal to this hydrophobic region are eight consecutive EGF-like domains.
Cell transfection, biochemical, and electronmicroscopic studies suggest that Ten-m1 is a dimeric type II transmembrane protein. Expression of fusion proteins composed of the NH2-terminal and hydrophobic domain of ten-m1 attached to the alkaline phosphatase reporter gene resulted in membrane-associated staining of the alkaline phosphatase. Electronmicroscopic and electrophoretic analysis of a secreted form of the extracellular domain of Ten-m1 showed that Ten-m1 is a disulfide-linked dimer and that the dimerization is mediated by EGF-like modules 2 and 5 which contain an odd number of cysteines.
Northern blot and immunohistochemical analyses revealed widespread expression of mouse ten-m genes, with most prominent expression in brain. All four ten-m genes can be expressed in variously spliced mRNA isoforms. The extracellular domain of Ten-m1 fused to an alkaline phosphatase reporter bound to specific regions in many tissues which were partially overlapping with the Ten-m1 immunostaining. Far Western assays and electronmicroscopy demonstrated that Ten-m1 can bind to itself.
ten-m/odz; transmembrane protein; pair rule; epidermal growth factor
We report the molecular and functional characterization of a new α chain of laminin in Drosophila. The new laminin chain appears to be the Drosophila counterpart of both vertebrate α2 (also called merosin) and α1 chains, with a slightly higher degree of homology to α2, suggesting that this chain is an ancestral version of both α1 and α2 chains. During embryogenesis, the protein is associated with basement membranes of the digestive system and muscle attachment sites, and during larval stage it is found in a specific pattern in wing and eye discs. The gene is assigned to a locus called wing blister (wb), which is essential for embryonic viability. Embryonic phenotypes include twisted germbands and fewer pericardial cells, resulting in gaps in the presumptive heart and tracheal trunks, and myotubes detached from their target muscle attachment sites. Most phenotypes are in common with those observed in Drosophila laminin α3, 5 mutant embryos and many are in common with those observed in integrin mutations. Adult phenotypes show blisters in the wings in viable allelic combinations, similar to phenotypes observed in integrin genes. Mutation analysis in the eye demonstrates a function in rhabdomere organization. In summary, this new laminin α chain is essential for embryonic viability and is involved in processes requiring cell migration and cell adhesion.
Drosophila; wing blister; laminin; extracellular matrix; development
To investigate the potential role of tenascin-C (TN-C) on endothelial sprouting we used bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) as an in vitro model of angiogenesis. We found that TN-C is specifically expressed by sprouting and cord-forming BAECs but not by nonsprouting BAECs. To test whether TN-C alone or in combination with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) can enhance endothelial sprouting or cord formation, we used BAECs that normally do not sprout and, fittingly, do not express TN-C. In the presence of bFGF, exogenous TN-C but not fibronectin induced an elongated phenotype in nonsprouting BAECs. This phenotype was due to altered actin cytoskeleton organization. The fibrinogen globe of the TN-C molecule was the active domain promoting the elongated phenotype in response to bFGF. Furthermore, we found that the fibrinogen globe was responsible for reduced cell adhesion of BAECs on TN-C substrates. We conclude that bFGF-stimulated endothelial cells can be switched to a sprouting phenotype by the decreased adhesive strength of TN-C, mediated by the fibrinogen globe.
Tenascin-C is an adhesion-modulating matrix glycoprotein that has multiple effects on cell behavior. Tenascin-C transcripts are expressed in motile cells and at sites of tissue modeling during development, and alternative splicing generates variants that encode different numbers of fibronectin type III repeats. We have examined the in vivo expression and cell adhesive properties of two full-length recombinant tenascin-C proteins: TN-190, which contains the eight constant fibronectin type III repeats, and TN-ADC, which contains the additional AD2, AD1, and C repeats. In situ hybridization with probes specific for the AD2, AD1, and C repeats shows that these splice variants are expressed at sites of active tissue modeling and fibronectin expression in the developing avian feather bud and sternum. Transcripts incorporating the AD2, AD1, and C repeats are present in embryonic day 10 wing bud but not in embryonic day 10 lung. By using a panel of nine cell lines in attachment assays, we have found that C2C12, G8, and S27 myoblastic cells undergo concentration-dependent adhesion to both variants, organize actin microspikes that contain the actin-bundling protein fascin, and do not assemble focal contacts. On a molar basis, TN-ADC is more active than TN-190 in promoting cell attachment and irregular cell spreading. The addition of either TN-190 or TN-ADC in solution to C2C12, COS-7, or MG-63 cells adherent on fibronectin decreases cell attachment and results in decreased organization of actin microfilament bundles, with formation of cortical membrane ruffles and retention of residual points of substratum contact that contain filamentous actin and fascin. These data establish a biochemical similarity in the processes of cell adhesion to tenascin-C and thrombospondin-1, also an “antiadhesive” matrix component, and also demonstrate that both the adhesive and adhesion-modulating properties of tenascin-C involve similar biochemical events in the cortical cytoskeleton. In addition to these generic properties, TN-ADC is less active in adhesion modulation than TN-190. The coordinated expression of different tenascin-C transcripts during development may, therefore, provide appropriate microenvironments for regulated changes in cell shape, adhesion, and movement.