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  • Tendon response to matrix unloading is determined by the patho-physiological niche
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2020-01-07
    Stefania L. Wunderli; Ulrich Blache; Agnese Beretta Piccoli; Barbara Niederöst; Claude N. Holenstein; Fabian S. Passini; Unai Silván; Louise Bundgaard; Ulrich auf dem Keller; Jess G. Snedeker

    Although the molecular mechanisms behind tendon disease remain obscure, aberrant stromal matrix turnover and tissue hypervascularity are known hallmarks of advanced tendinopathy. We harness a tendon explant model to unwind complex cross-talk between the stromal and vascular tissue compartments. We identify the hypervascular tendon niche as a state-switch that gates degenerative matrix remodeling within the tissue stroma. Here pathological conditions resembling hypervascular tendon disease provoke rapid cell-mediated tissue breakdown upon mechanical unloading, in contrast to unloaded tendons that remain functionally stable in physiological low-oxygen/-temperature niches. Analyses of the stromal tissue transcriptome and secretome reveal that a stromal niche with elevated tissue oxygenation and temperature drives a ROS mediated cellular stress response that leads to adoption of an immune-modulatory phenotype within the degrading stromal tissue. Degradomic analysis further reveals a surprisingly rich set of active matrix proteases behind the progressive loss of tissue mechanics. We conclude that the tendon stromal compartment responds to aberrant mechanical unloading in a manner that is highly dependent on the vascular niche, with ROS gating a complex proteolytic breakdown of the functional collagen backbone.

  • Single cell RNA-sequencing reveals cellular heterogeneity and trajectories of lineage specification during murine embryonic limb development
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-12-24
    Natalie H. Kelly; Nguyen P.T. Huynh; Farshid Guilak

    The coordinated spatial and temporal regulation of gene expression in the murine hindlimb determines the identity of mesenchymal progenitors and the development of diversity of musculoskeletal tissues they form. Hindlimb development has historically been studied with lineage tracing of individual genes selected a priori, or at the bulk tissue level, which does not allow for the determination of single cell transcriptional programs yielding mature cell types and tissues. To identify the cellular trajectories of lineage specification during limb bud development, we used single cell mRNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) to profile the developing murine hindlimb between embryonic days (E)11.5-E18.5. We found cell type heterogeneity at all time points, and the expected cell types that form the mouse hindlimb. In addition, we used RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to examine the spatial locations of cell types and cell trajectories to understand the ancestral continuum of cell maturation. This data provides a resource for the transcriptional program of hindlimb development that will support future studies of musculoskeletal development and generate hypotheses for tissue regeneration.

  • Hypomorphic zebrafish models mimic the musculoskeletal phenotype of β4GalT7-deficient Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-12-17
    Sarah Delbaere; Tim Van Damme; Delfien Syx; Sofie Symoens; Paul Coucke; Andy Willaert; Fransiska Malfait

    β4GalT7 is a transmembrane Golgi enzyme, encoded by B4GALT7, that plays a pivotal role in the proteoglycan linker region formation during proteoglycan biosynthesis. Defects in this enzyme give rise to a rare autosomal recessive form of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), currently known as ‘spondylodysplastic EDS (spEDS-B4GALT7)’. This EDS subtype is mainly characterized by short stature, hypotonia and skeletal abnormalities, thereby illustrating its pleiotropic importance during human development. Insights into the pathogenic mechanisms underlying this disabling disease are very limited, in part due to the lack of a relevant in vivo model. As the majority of mutations identified in patients with spEDS-B4GALT7 are hypomorphic, we generated zebrafish models with partial loss of B4galt7 function, including different knockdown (morphant) and mosaic knockout (crispant) b4galt7 zebrafish models and studied the morphologic, functional and molecular aspects in embryonic and larval stages. Morphant and crispant zebrafish show highly similar morphological abnormalities in early development including a small, round head, bowed pectoral fins, short body-axis and mild developmental delay. Several craniofacial cartilage and bone structures are absent or strongly misshapen. In addition, the total amount of sulfated glycosaminoglycans is significantly diminished and particularly heparan and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan levels are greatly reduced. We also show impaired cartilage patterning and loss of chondrocyte organization in a cartilage-specific Tg(Col2a1aBAC:mcherry) zebrafish reporter line. The occurrence of the same abnormalities in the different models confirms these are specifically caused by B4galt7 deficiency. A disturbed actin pattern, along with a lack of muscle tone, was only noted in morphants in which translation of b4galt7 was blocked. In conclusion, we generated the first viable animal models for spEDS-B4GALT7, and show that in early development the human spEDS-B4GALT7 phenotype is faithfully mimicked in these zebrafish models. Our findings underscore a key role for β4GalT7 in early development of cartilage, bone and muscle. These models will lead to a better understanding of spEDS-B4GALT7 and can be used in future efforts focusing on therapeutic applications.

  • Loss of LRP1 promotes acquisition of contractile-myofibroblast phenotype and release of active TGF-β1 from ECM stores
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-12-11
    Jennifer Schnieder, Argen Mamazhakypov, Anna Birnhuber, Jochen Wilhelm, Grazyna Kwapiszewska, Clemens Ruppert, Philipp Markart, Lukasz Wujak, Karla Rubio, Guillermo Barreto, Liliana Schaefer, Malgorzata Wygrecka

    In healing tissue, fibroblasts differentiate to α-smooth muscle actin (SMA)-expressing contractile-myofibroblasts, which pull the wound edges together ensuring proper tissue repair. Uncontrolled expansion of the myofibroblast population may, however, lead to excessive tissue scarring and finally to organ dysfunction. Here, we demonstrate that the loss of low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP) 1 overactivates the JNK1/2-c-Jun-Fra-2 signaling pathway leading to the induction of α-SMA and periostin expression in human lung fibroblasts (hLF). These changes are accompanied by increased contractility of the cells and the integrin- and protease-dependent release of active transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 from the extracellular matrix (ECM) stores. Liberation of active TGF-β1 from the ECM further enhances α-SMA and periostin expression thus accelerating the phenotypic switch of hLF. Global gene expression profiling of LRP1-depleted hLF revealed that the loss of LRP1 affects cytoskeleton reorganization, cell-ECM contacts, and ECM production. In line with these findings, fibrotic changes in the skin and lung of Fra-2 transgenic mice were associated with LRP1 depletion and c-Jun overexpression. Altogether, our results suggest that dysregulation of LRP1 expression in fibroblasts in healing tissue may lead to the unrestrained expansion of contractile myofibroblasts and thereby to fibrosis development. Further studies identifying molecules, which regulate LRP1 expression, may provide new therapeutic options for largely untreatable human fibrotic diseases.

  • Heparanase promotes myeloma stemness and in vivo tumorigenesis
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-12-05
    Kaushlendra Tripathi, Vishnu C. Ramani, Shyam K. Bandari, Rada Amin, Elizabeth E. Brown, Joseph P. Ritchie, Mark D. Stewart, Ralph D. Sanderson

    Heparanase is known to enhance the progression of many cancer types and is associated with poor patient prognosis. We recently reported that after patients with multiple myeloma were treated with high dose chemotherapy, the tumor cells that emerged upon relapse expressed a much higher level of heparanase than was present prior to therapy. Because tumor cells having stemness properties are thought to seed tumor relapse, we investigated whether heparanase had a role in promoting myeloma stemness. When plated at low density and grown in serum-free conditions that support survival and expansion of stem-like cells, myeloma cells expressing a low level of heparanase formed tumor spheroids poorly. In contrast, cells expressing a high level of heparanase formed significantly more and larger spheroids than did the heparanase low cells. Importantly, heparanase-low expressing cells exhibited plasticity and were induced to exhibit stemness properties when exposed to recombinant heparanase or to exosomes that contained a high level of heparanase cargo. The spheroid-forming heparanase-high cells had elevated expression of GLI1, SOX2 and ALDH1A1, three genes known to be associated with myeloma stemness. Inhibitors that block the heparan sulfate degrading activity of heparanase significantly diminished spheroid formation and expression of stemness genes implying a direct role of the enzyme in regulating stemness. Blocking the NF-κB pathway inhibited spheroid formation and expression of stemness genes demonstrating a role for NF-κB in heparanase-mediated stemness. Myeloma cells made deficient in heparanase exhibited decreased stemness properties in vitro and when injected into mice they formed tumors poorly compared to the robust tumorigenic capacity of cells expressing higher levels of heparanase. These studies reveal for the first time a role for heparanase in promoting cancer stemness and provide new insight into its function in driving tumor progression and its association with poor prognosis in cancer patients.

  • The role of extracellular matrix in biomechanics and its impact on bioengineering of cells and 3D tissues
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-12-02
    Max Urbanczyk, Shannon L. Layland, Katja Schenke-Layland

    The cells and tissues of the human body are constantly exposed to exogenous and endogenous forces that are referred to as biomechanical cues. They guide and impact cellular processes and cell fate decisions on the nano-, micro- and macro-scale, and are therefore critical for normal tissue development and maintaining tissue homeostasis. Alterations in the extracellular matrix composition of a tissue combined with abnormal mechanosensing and mechanotransduction can aberrantly activate signaling pathways that promote disease development. Such processes are therefore highly relevant for disease modelling or when aiming for the development of novel therapies. In this mini review, we describe the main biomechanical cues that impact cellular fates. We highlight their role during development, homeostasis and in disease. We also discuss current techniques and tools that allow us to study the impact of biomechanical cues on cell and tissue development under physiological conditions, and we point out directions, in which in vitro biomechanics can be of use in the future.

  • Scavenger Receptor Cysteine-Rich domains of Lysyl Oxidase-Like2 regulate endothelial ECM and angiogenesis through non-catalytic scaffolding mechanisms
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-11-20
    Claudia Umana-Diaz, Cathy Pichol-Thievend, Marion F. Marchand, Yoann Atlas, Romain Salza, Marilyne Malbouyres, Alain Barret, Jérémie Teillon, Corinne Ardidie-Robouant, Florence Ruggiero, Catherine Monnot, Philippe Girard, Christophe Guilluy, Sylvie Ricard-Blum, Stéphane Germain, Laurent Muller

    Lysyl oxidases are major actors of microenvironment and extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling. These cross-linking enzymes are thus involved in many aspects of physiopathology, including tumor progression, fibrosis and cardiovascular diseases. We have already shown that Lysyl Oxidase-Like 2 (LOXL2) regulates collagen IV deposition by endothelial cells and angiogenesis. We here provide evidence that LOXL2 also affects deposition of other ECM components, including fibronectin, thus altering structural and mechanical properties of the matrix generated by endothelial cells. LOXL2 interacts intracellularly and directly with collagen IV and fibronectin before incorporation into ECM fibrillar structures upon exocytosis, as demonstrated by TIRF time-lapse microscopy. Furthermore, surface plasmon resonance experiments using recombinant scavenger receptor cysteine-rich (SRCR) domains truncated for the catalytic domain demonstrated their direct binding to collagen IV. We thus used directed mutagenesis to investigate the role of LOXL2 catalytic domain. Neither enzyme activity nor catalytic domain were necessary for collagen IV deposition and angiogenesis, whereas the SRCR domains were effective for these processes. Finally, surface coating with recombinant SRCR domains restored deposition of collagen IV by LOXL2-depleted cells. We thus propose that LOXL2 SRCR domains orchestrate scaffolding of the vascular basement membrane and angiogenesis through interactions with collagen IV and fibronectin, independently of the enzymatic cross-linking activity.

  • Glypican-6 stimulates intestinal elongation by simultaneously regulating Hedgehog and non-canonical Wnt signaling
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-11-20
    Wen Shi, Tomoyuki Kaneiwa, Marzena Cydzik, Jean Gariepy, Jorge Filmus

    We report here that Glypican-6 (GPC6)-null mice display at birth small intestines that are 75 % shorter than those of normal littermates. Notably, we demonstrate that the role of GPC6 in intestinal elongation is mediated by both Hedgehog (Hh) and non-canonical Wnt signaling. Based on results from in vitro experiments, we had previously proposed that GPC6 stimulates Hh signaling by interacting with Hh and Patched1 (Ptc1), and facilitating/stabilizing their interaction. Here we provide strong support to this hypothesis by showing that GPC6 binds to Ptc1 in the mesenchymal layer of embryonic intestines. This study also provides experimental evidence that strongly suggests that GPC6 inhibits the activity of Wnt5a on the intestinal epithelium by binding to this growth factor, and reducing its release from the surrounding mesenchymal cells. Finally, we show that whereas the mesenchymal layer of GPC6-null intestines displays reduced cell proliferation and a thinner smooth muscle layer, epithelial cell differentiation is not altered in the mutant gut.

  • Nuclear softening is essential for protease-independent migration
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-01-12
    Alakesh Das, Amlan Barai, Melissa Monteiro, Sandeep Kumar, Shamik Sen

    During amoeboidal migration, cancer cells migrate in a protease-independent manner by squeezing through pre-existing gaps in the extracellular matrix (ECM). However, the extent to which cells alter their physical properties in order to sustain this mode of migration remains unclear. Here, we address this question by documenting biophysical changes in the properties of highly invasive MDA-MB-231 and HT-1080 cells upon inhibition of pericellular proteolysis. Remarkably, treatment with the broad spectrum MMP inhibitor GM6001 not only induces cell rounding and loss of actomyosin contractility, but also induces nuclear softening via increased phosphorylation of the nuclear membrane protein lamin A/C. Though nuclear softening is necessary for sustaining migration through sub-nuclear sized transwell pores, it is not sufficient. In addition, baseline levels of contractility mediating pore entry and peri-nuclear actin inside the pores mediating pore migration are also required. Taken together, our results suggest that protease-independent migration through sub-nuclear sized pre-existing tracks is enabled by deformation of a softened nucleus by contractility and the peri-nuclear actin network.

  • Limb- and tendon-specific Adamtsl2 deletion identifies a role for ADAMTSL2 in tendon growth in a mouse model for geleophysic dysplasia
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-02-07
    Dirk Hubmacher, Nandaraj Taye, Zerina Balic, Stetson Thacker, Sheila M. Adams, David E. Birk, Ronen Schweitzer, Suneel S. Apte

    Geleophysic dysplasia is a rare, frequently lethal condition characterized by severe short stature with progressive joint contractures, cardiac, pulmonary, and skin anomalies. Geleophysic dysplasia results from dominant fibrillin-1 (FBN1) or recessive ADAMTSL2 mutations, suggesting a functional link between ADAMTSL2 and fibrillin microfibrils. Mice lacking ADAMTSL2 die at birth, which has precluded analysis of postnatal limb development and mechanisms underlying the skeletal anomalies of geleophysic dysplasia. Here, detailed expression analysis of Adamtsl2 using an intragenic lacZ reporter shows strong Adamtsl2 expression in limb tendons. Expression in developing and growing bones is present in regions that are destined to become articular cartilage but is absent in growth plate cartilage. Consistent with strong tendon expression, Adamtsl2 conditional deletion in limb mesenchyme using Prx1-Cre led to tendon anomalies, albeit with normal collagen fibrils, and distal limb shortening, providing a mouse model for geleophysic dysplasia. Unexpectedly, conditional Adamtsl2 deletion using Scx-Cre, a tendon-specific Cre-deleter strain, which does not delete in cartilage, also impaired skeletal growth. Recombinant ADAMTSL2 is shown here to colocalize with fibrillin microfibrils in vitro, and enhanced staining of fibrillin-1 microfibrils was observed in Prx1-Cre Adamtsl2 tendons. The findings show that ADAMTSL2 specifically regulates microfibril assembly in tendons and that proper microfibril composition in tendons is necessary for tendon growth. We speculate that reduced bone growth in geleophysic dysplasia may result from external tethering by short tendons rather than intrinsic growth plate anomalies. Taken together with previous work, we suggest that GD results from abnormal microfibril assembly in tissues, and that ADAMTSL2 may limit the assembly of fibrillin microfibrils.

  • Denervation-induced skeletal muscle fibrosis is mediated by CTGF/CCN2 independently of TGF-β
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-02-01
    Daniela L. Rebolledo, David González, Jennifer Faundez-Contreras, Osvaldo Contreras, Carlos P. Vio, Joanne E. Murphy-Ullrich, Kenneth E. Lipson, Enrique Brandan

    Muscular fibrosis is caused by excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) that replaces functional tissue, and it is a feature of several myopathies and neuropathies. Knowledge of the biology and regulation of pro-fibrotic factors is critical for the development of new therapeutic strategies. Upon unilateral sciatic nerve transection, we observed accumulation of ECM proteins such as collagen and fibronectin in the denervated hindlimb, together with increased levels of the profibrotic factors transforming growth factor type β (TGF-β) and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2). In mice hemizygous for CTGF/CCN2 or in mice treated with a blocking antibody against CTGF/CCN2, we observed reduced accumulation of ECM proteins after denervation as compared to control mice, with no changes in fibro/adipogenic progenitors (FAPs), suggesting a direct role of CTGF/CCN2 on denervation-induced fibrosis. During time course experiments, we observed that ECM proteins and CTGF/CCN2 levels are increased early after denervation (2–4 days), while TGF-β signaling shows a delayed kinetics of appearance (1–2 weeks). Furthermore, blockade of TGF-β signaling does not decrease fibronectin or CTGF levels after 4 days of denervation. These results suggest that in our model CTGF/CCN2 is not up-regulated by canonical TGF-β signaling early after denervation and that other factors are likely involved in the early fibrotic response following skeletal muscle denervation.

  • Thrombospondin-2 regulates extracellular matrix production, LOX levels, and cross-linking via downregulation of miR-29
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-03-13
    N.E. Calabro, A. Barrett, A. Chamorro-Jorganes, S. Tam, N.J. Kristofik, Hao Xing, Ayomiposi M. Loye, W.C. Sessa, K. Hansen, T.R. Kyriakides

    Collagen fibrillogenesis and crosslinking have long been implicated in extracellular matrix (ECM)-dependent processes such as fibrosis and scarring. However, the extent to which matricellular proteins influence ECM protein production and fibrillar collagen crosslinking has yet to be determined. Here we show that thrombospondin 2 (TSP2), an anti-angiogenic matricellular protein, is an important modulator of ECM homeostasis. Specifically, through a fractionated quantitative proteomics approach, we show that loss of TSP2 leads to a unique ECM phenotype characterized by a significant decrease in fibrillar collagen, matricellular, and structural ECM protein production in the skin of TSP2 KO mice. Additionally, TSP2 KO skin displays decreased lysyl oxidase (LOX), which manifests as an increase in fibrillar collagen solubility and decreased levels of LOX-mediated fibrillar collagen crosslinking. We show that these changes are indirectly mediated by miR-29, a major regulator of ECM proteins and LOX, as miR-29 expression is increased in the TSP2 KO. Altogether, these findings indicate that TSP2 contributes to ECM production and assembly by regulating miR-29 and LOX.

  • p16Ink4a deletion in cells of the intervertebral disc affects their matrix homeostasis and senescence associated secretory phenotype without altering onset of senescence
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-02-24
    Emanuel J. Novais, Brian O. Diekman, Irving M. Shapiro, Makarand V. Risbud

    Intervertebral disc degeneration is an important contributor to chronic low back and neck pain. Although many environmental and genetic factors are known to contribute to disc degeneration, age is still the most significant risk factor. Recent studies have shown that senescence may play a role in age-related disc degeneration and matrix catabolism in humans and mouse models. Clearance of p16Ink4a-positive senescent cells reduces the degenerative phenotype in many age-associated diseases. Whether p16Ink4a plays a functional role in intervertebral disc degeneration and senescence is unknown. We first characterized the senescence status of discs in young and old mice. Quantitative histology, gene expression and a novel p16tdTom reporter mice showed an increase in p16Ink4a, p21 and IL-6, with a decrease in Ki67 with aging. Accordingly, we studied the spinal-phenotype of 18-month-old mice with conditional deletion of p16Ink4a in the disc driven by Acan-CreERT2 (cKO). The analyses of discs of cKO and age-matched control mice showed little change in cell morphology and tissue architecture. The cKO mice exhibited changes in functional attributes of aggrecan as well as in collagen composition of the intervertebral disc. While cKO discs exhibited a small decrease in TUNEL positive cells, lineage tracing experiments using ZsGreen reporter indicated that the overall changes in cell fate or numbers were minimal. The cKO mice maintained expression of NP-cell phenotypic markers CA3, Krt19 and GLUT-1. Moreover, in cKO discs, levels of p19Arf and RB were higher without alterations in Ki67, γH2AX, CDK4 and Lipofuscin deposition. Interestingly, the cKO discs showed lower levels of SASP markers, IL-1β, IL-6, MCP1 and TGF-β1. These results show that while, p16Ink4a is dispensable for induction and maintenance of senescence, conditional loss of p16Ink4a reduces apoptosis, limits the SASP phenotype and alters matrix homeostasis of disc cells.

  • Citrullination of fibronectin alters integrin clustering and focal adhesion stability promoting stromal cell invasion
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-04-17
    Victoria L. Stefanelli, Shilpa Choudhury, Ping Hu, Yining Liu, Anja Schwenzer, Chiuan-Ren Yeh, Dwight M. Chambers, Kelly Pesson, Wei Li, Tatiana Segura, Kim S. Midwood, Matthew Torres, Thomas H. Barker

    The extracellular matrix (ECM) microenvironment is increasingly implicated in the instruction of pathologically relevant cell behaviors, from aberrant transdifferentation to invasion and beyond. Indeed, pathologic ECMs possess a panoply of alterations that provide deleterious instructions to resident cells. Here we demonstrate the precise manner in which the ECM protein fibronectin (FN) undergoes the posttranslational modification citrullination in response to peptidyl-arginine deiminase (PAD), an enzyme associated with innate immune cell activity and implicated in systemic ECM-centric diseases, like cancer, fibrosis and rheumatoid arthritis. FN can be citrullinated in at least 24 locations, 5 of which reside in FN's primary cell-binding domain. Citrullination of FN alters integrin clustering and focal adhesion stability with a concomitant enhancement in force-triggered integrin signaling along the FAK-Src and ILK-Parvin pathways within fibroblasts. In vitro migration and in vivo wound healing studies demonstrate the ability of citrullinated FN to support a more migratory/invasive phenotype that enables more rapid wound closure. These findings highlight the potential of ECM, particularly FN, to “record” inflammatory insults via post-translational modification by inflammation-associated enzymes that are subsequently “read” by resident tissue fibroblasts, establishing a direct link between inflammation and tissue homeostasis and pathogenesis through the matrix.

  • Tendon tissue microdamage and the limits of intrinsic repair
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-07-17
    Tino Stauber, Ulrich Blache, Jess G. Snedeker

    The transmission of mechanical muscle force to bone for musculoskeletal stability and movement is one of the most important functions of tendon. The load-bearing tendon core is composed of highly aligned collagen-rich fascicles interspersed with stromal cells (tenocytes). Despite being built to bear very high mechanical stresses, supra-physiological/repetitive mechanical overloading leads to tendon microdamage in fascicles, and potentially to tendon disease and rupture. To date, it is unclear to what extent intrinsic healing mechanisms of the tendon core compartment can repair microdamage. In the present study, we investigated the healing capacity of the tendon core compartment in an ex vivo tissue explant model. To do so, we isolated rat tail tendon fascicles, damaged them by applying a single stretch to various degrees of sub-rupture damage and longitudinally assessed downstream functional and structural changes over a period of several days. Functional damage was assessed by changes in the elastic modulus of the material stress-strain curves, and biological viability of the resident tenocytes. Structural damage was quantified using a fluorescent collagen hybridizing peptide (CHP) to label mechanically disrupted collagen structures. While we observed functional mechanical damage for strains above 2% of the initial fascicle length, structural collagen damage was only detectable for 6% strain and beyond. Minimally loaded/damaged fascicles (2–4% strain) progressively lost elastic modulus over the course of tissue culture, despite their collagen structures remaining intact with high degree of maintained cell viability. In contrast, more severely overloaded fascicles (6–8% strain) with damage at the molecular/collagen level showed no further loss of the elastic modulus but markedly decreased cell viability. Surprisingly, in these heavily damaged fascicles the elastic modulus partially recovered, an effect also seen in further experiments on devitalized fascicles, implying the possibility of a non-cellular but matrix-driven mechanism of molecular repair. Overall, our findings indicate that the tendon core has very little capacity for self-repair of microdamage. We conclude that stromal tenocytes likely do not play a major role in anabolic repair of tendon matrix microdamage, but rather mediate catabolic matrix breakdown and communication with extrinsic cells that are able to effect tissue repair.

  • Fibroblast activation protein restrains adipogenic differentiation and regulates matrix-mediated mTOR signaling
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-07-17
    Rachel Blomberg, Daniel P. Beiting, Martin Wabitsch, Ellen Puré

    Obesity is a risk factor for multiple diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Within obese adipose tissue, multiple factors contribute to creating a disease-promoting environment, including metabolic dysfunction, inflammation, and fibrosis. Recent evidence points to fibrotic responses, particularly extracellular matrix remodeling, in playing a highly functional role in the pathogenesis of obesity. Fibroblast activation protein plays an essential role in remodeling collagen-rich matrices in the context of fibrosis and cancer. We observed that FAP-null mice have increased weight compared to wild-type controls, and so investigated the role of FAP in regulating diet-induced obesity. Using genetically engineered mouse models and in-vitro cell-derived matrices, we demonstrate that FAP expression by pre-adipocytes restrains adipogenic differentiation. We further show that FAP-mediated matrix remodeling alters lipid metabolism in part by regulating mTOR signaling. The impact of FAP on adipogenic differentiation and mTOR signaling together confers resistance to diet-induced obesity. The critical role of ECM remodeling in regulating obesity offers new potential targets for therapy.

  • Scaffold stiffness influences breast cancer cell invasion via EGFR-linked Mena upregulation and matrix remodeling
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-07-16
    Anthony J. Berger, Carine M. Renner, Isaac Hale, Xinhai Yang, Suzanne M. Ponik, Paul S. Weisman, Kristyn S. Masters, Pamela K. Kreeger

    Clinically, increased breast tumor stiffness is associated with metastasis and poorer outcomes. Yet, in vitro studies of tumor cells in 3D scaffolds have found decreased invasion in stiffer environments. To resolve this apparent contradiction, MDA-MB-231 breast tumor spheroids were embedded in ‘low’ (2 kPa) and ‘high’ (12 kPa) stiffness 3D hydrogels comprised of methacrylated gelatin/collagen I, a material that allows for physiologically-relevant changes in stiffness while matrix density is held constant. Cells in high stiffness materials exhibited delayed invasion, but more abundant actin-enriched protrusions, compared to those in low stiffness. We find that cells in high stiffness had increased expression of Mena, an invadopodia protein associated with metastasis in breast cancer, as a result of EGFR and PLCγ1 activation. As invadopodia promote invasion through matrix remodeling, we examined matrix organization and determined that spheroids in high stiffness displayed a large fibronectin halo. Interestingly, this halo did not result from increased fibronectin production, but rather from Mena/α5 integrin dependent organization. In high stiffness environments, FN1 knockout inhibited invasion while addition of exogenous cellular fibronectin lessened the invasion delay. Analysis of fibronectin isoforms demonstrated that EDA-fibronectin promoted invasion and that clinical invasive breast cancer specimens displayed elevated EDA-fibronectin. Combined, our data support a mechanism by which breast cancer cells respond to stiffness and render the environment conducive to invasion. More broadly, these findings provide important insight on the roles of matrix stiffness, composition, and organization in promoting tumor invasion.

  • Biallelic KRT5 mutations in autosomal recessive epidermolysis bullosa simplex, including a complete human keratin 5 “knock-out”
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-07-11
    Hassan Vahidnezhad, Leila Youssefian, Maryam Daneshpazhooh, Hamidreza Mahmoudi, Ariana Kariminejad, Judith Fischer, Julie Christiansen, Holm Schneider, Alyson Guy, Lu Liu, John A. McGrath, Cristina Has, Jouni Uitto

    Epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS) is usually inherited as an autosomal dominant disease due to monoallelic gain-of-function mutations in KRT5 or KRT14. Although autosomal recessive forms of EBS have been associated with mutations in at least 10 genes, recessive EBS due to homozygous biallelic KRT5 mutations has not been reported previously; it has been hypothesized that it would result in prenatal lethality. We sought the genetic causes of EB in a cohort of 512 distinct EB families by performing whole exome sequencing (WES) and using an EB-targeting next-generation sequencing (NGS) panel of 21 genes. The pathogenicity and consequences of the mutations were determined by expression profiling and at tissue and ultrastructural levels. Two pathogenic, homozygous missense variants of KRT5 in two patients with generalized EBS and a homozygous null mutation in a patient who died as a neonate from complications of EB were found. The two missense mutations disrupted keratin 5 expression on immunofluorescence microscopy, and the human “knock-out” of KRT5 showed no RNA and protein expression. Collectively, these findings identify biallelic KRT5 mutations with a phenotypic spectrum varying from mild, localized and generalized to perinatal lethal, expanding the genotypic profile of autosomal recessive EBS.

  • Elastin architecture
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-07-10
    Howard Vindin, Suzanne M. Mithieux, Anthony S. Weiss

    Elastic fibers are an essential component of the extracellular matrix where they provide structural integrity and elastic recoil in a number of important tissues. A major constituent of these fibers is elastin, an insoluble metabolically stable polymer formed via extensive crosslinking of the monomeric precursor tropoelastin. Research over the past few decades has shown that tropoelastin possesses unique structural features that differ from both intrinsically disordered and globular proteins. This review details the advances in our understanding of tropoelastin's structural properties and illustrates how these dictate its biological function.

  • The role of elastin-derived peptides in human physiology and diseases
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-07-08
    Aurélie Le Page, Abdelouahed Khalil, Patrick Vermette, Eric H. Frost, Anis Larbi, Jacek M. Witkowski, Tamas Fulop

    Once considered as inert, the extracellular matrix recently revealed to be biologically active. Elastin is one of the most important components of the extracellular matrix. Many vital organs including arteries, lungs and skin contain high amounts of elastin to assure their correct function. Physiologically, the organism contains a determined quantity of elastin from the early development which may remain physiologically constant due to its very long half-life and very low turnover. Taking into consideration the continuously ongoing challenges during life, there is a physiological degradation of elastin into elastin-derived peptides which is accentuated in several disease states such as obstructive pulmonary diseases, atherosclerosis and aortic aneurysm. These elastin-derived peptides have been shown to have various biological effects mediated through their interaction with their cognate receptor called elastin receptor complex eliciting several signal transduction pathways. In this review, we will describe the production and the biological effects of elastin-derived peptides in physiology and pathology.

  • Peptide gels of fully-defined composition and mechanics for probing cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions in vitro
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-07-08
    J.C. Ashworth, J.L. Thompson, J.R. James, C.E. Slater, S. Pijuan-Galitó, K. Lis-Slimak, R.J. Holley, K.A. Meade, A. Thompson, K.P. Arkill, M. Tassieri, A.J. Wright, G. Farnie, C.L.R. Merry

    Current materials used for in vitro 3D cell culture are often limited by their poor similarity to human tissue, batch-to-batch variability and complexity of composition and manufacture. Here, we present a “blank slate” culture environment based on a self-assembling peptide gel free from matrix motifs. The gel can be customised by incorporating matrix components selected to match the target tissue, with independent control of mechanical properties. Therefore the matrix components are restricted to those specifically added, or those synthesised by encapsulated cells. The flexible 3D culture platform provides full control over biochemical and physical properties, allowing the impact of biochemical composition and tissue mechanics to be separately evaluated in vitro. Here, we demonstrate that the peptide gels support the growth of a range of cells including human induced pluripotent stem cells and human cancer cell lines. Furthermore, we present proof-of-concept that the peptide gels can be used to build disease-relevant models. Controlling the peptide gelator concentration allows peptide gel stiffness to be matched to normal breast (<1 kPa) or breast tumour tissue (>1 kPa), with higher stiffness favouring the viability of breast cancer cells over normal breast cells. In parallel, the peptide gels may be modified with matrix components relevant to human breast, such as collagen I and hyaluronan. The choice and concentration of these additions affect the size, shape and organisation of breast epithelial cell structures formed in co-culture with fibroblasts. This system therefore provides a means of unravelling the individual influences of matrix, mechanical properties and cell-cell interactions in cancer and other diseases.

  • Trends in the design and use of elastin-like recombinamers as biomaterials
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-07-06
    Arturo Ibáñez-Fonseca, Tatjana Flora, Sergio Acosta, José Carlos Rodríguez-Cabello

    Elastin-like recombinamers (ELRs), which derive from one of the repetitive domains found in natural elastin, have been intensively studied in the last few years from several points of view. In this mini review, we discuss all the recent works related to the investigation of ELRs, starting with those that define these polypeptides as model intrinsically disordered proteins or regions (IDPs or IDRs) and its relevance for some biomedical applications. Furthermore, we summarize the current knowledge on the development of drug, vaccine and gene delivery systems based on ELRs, while also emphasizing the use of ELR-based hydrogels in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM). Finally, we show different studies that explore applications in other fields, and several examples that describe biomaterial blends in which ELRs have a key role. This review aims to give an overview of the recent advances regarding ELRs and to encourage further investigation of their properties and applications.

  • Tenascin-C increases lung metastasis by impacting blood vessel invasions
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-07-06
    Zhen Sun, Inés Velázquez-Quesada, Devadarssen Murdamoothoo, Constance Ahowesso, Alev Yilmaz, Caroline Spenlé, Gerlinde Averous, William Erne, Felicitas Oberndorfer, Andre Oszwald, Renate Kain, Catherine Bourdon, Pierre Mangin, Claire Deligne, Kim Midwood, Chérine Abou-Faycal, Olivier Lefebvre, Annick Klein, Gertraud Orend

    Metastasis is a major cause of death in cancer patients. The extracellular matrix molecule tenascin-C is a known promoter of metastasis, however the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. To further analyze the impact of tenascin-C on cancer progression we generated MMTV-NeuNT mice that develop spontaneous mammary tumors, on a tenascin-C knockout background. We also developed a syngeneic orthotopic model in which tumor cells derived from a MMTV-NeuNT tumor. Tumor cells were transfected with control shRNA or with shRNA to knockdown tenascin-C expression and, were grafted into the mammary gland of immune competent, wildtype or tenascin-C knockout mice. We show that stromal-derived tenascin-C increases metastasis by reducing apoptosis and inducing the cellular plasticity of cancer cells located in pulmonary blood vessels invasions (BVI), before extravasation. We characterized BVI as organized structures of tightly packed aggregates of proliferating tumor cells with epithelial characteristics, surrounded by Fsp1+ cells, internally located platelets and, a luminal monolayer of endothelial cells. We found extracellular matrix, in particular, tenascin-C, between the stromal cells and the tumor cell cluster. In mice lacking stromal-derived tenascin-C, the organization of pulmonary BVI was significantly affected, revealing novel functions of host-derived tenascin-C in supporting the integrity of the endothelial cell coat, increasing platelet abundance, tumor cell survival, epithelial plasticity, thereby promoting overall lung metastasis. Many effects of tenascin-C observed in BVI including enhancement of cellular plasticity, survival and migration, could be explained by activation of TGF-β signaling. Finally, in several human cancers, we also observed BVI to be surrounded by an endothelial monolayer and to express tenascin-C. Expression of tenascin-C is specific to BVI and is not observed in lymphatic vascular invasions frequent in breast cancer, which lack an endothelial lining. Given that BVI have prognostic significance for many tumor types, such as shorter cancer patient survival, increased metastasis, vessel occlusion, and organ failure, our data revealing a novel mechanism by which stromal tenascin-C promotes metastasis in human cancer, may have potential for diagnosis and therapy.

  • Sequence variants of human tropoelastin affecting assembly, structural characteristics and functional properties of polymeric elastin in health and disease
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-06-26
    Sean E. Reichheld, Lisa D. Muiznieks, Robert Lu, Simon Sharpe, Fred W. Keeley

    Elastin is the polymeric protein responsible for the physiologically important properties of extensibility and elastic recoil of cardiovascular, pulmonary and many other tissues. In spite of significant advances in the understanding how monomeric tropoelastin is assembled into the polymeric elastic matrix, details of this assembly process are still lacking. In particular it is not clear how the various architectures and more subtle elastic properties required by diverse elastic tissues can arise from the protein product of a single gene. While monomeric tropoelastin has the intrinsic ability to self-assemble into fibrillar structures, it is clear that in vivo assembly is guided by interactions with cells and other matrix-associated components. In addition, the multiplicity of reported mRNA isoforms of human tropoelastin, if translated into protein variants, could modulate not only interactions with these matrix-associated components but also self-assembly and functional properties. Critical information identifying such protein isoforms of human tropoelastin is only now emerging from mass spectrometric studies. Increased levels of complexity of the assembly process provide additional opportunities for production of polymeric elastins with aberrant architectures and sub-optimal functional properties that could affect the longer-term structural integrity of elastic matrices. Biophysical techniques, such as SAXS, NMR and molecular dynamics, have provided a means to discern details of the effects of sequence variants, including both alternate splicing isoforms and genetic polymorphisms, on the dynamic flexibility of elastin required for its elastomeric properties. Such approaches promise to provide important new insights into the relationship between sequence, structural characteristics, assembly and functional properties of elastin in both health and disease.

  • Non-invasive marker-independent high content analysis of a microphysiological human pancreas-on-a-chip model
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-06-22
    Aline Zbinden, Julia Marzi, Katharina Schlünder, Christopher Probst, Max Urbanczyk, Scott Black, Eva M. Brauchle, Shannon L. Layland, Udo Kraushaar, Garry Duffy, Katja Schenke-Layland, Peter Loskill

    The increasing prevalence of diabetes, its heterogeneity, and the limited number of treatment options drive the need for physiologically relevant assay platforms with human genetic background that have the potential to improve mechanistic understanding and e\xpedite diabetes-related research and treatment. In this study, we developed an endocrine pancreas-on-a-chip model based on a tailored microfluidic platform, which enables self-guided trapping of single human pseudo-islets. Continuous, low-shear perfusion provides a physiologically relevant microenvironment especially important for modeling and monitoring of the endocrine function as well as sufficient supply with nutrients and oxygen. Human pseudo-islets, generated from the conditionally immortalized EndoC-βH3 cell line, were successfully injected by hydrostatic pressure-driven flow without altered viability. To track insulin secretion kinetics in response to glucose stimulation in a time-resolved manner, dynamic sampling of the supernatant as well as non-invasive real-time monitoring using Raman microspectroscopy was established on-chip. Dynamic sampling indicated a biphasic glucose-stimulated insulin response. Raman microspectroscopy allowed to trace glucose responsiveness in situ and to visualize different molecular structures such as lipids, mitochondria and nuclei. In-depth spectral analyses demonstrated a glucose stimulation-dependent, increased mitochondrial activity, and a switch in lipid composition of insulin secreting vesicles, supporting the high performance of our pancreas-on-a-chip model.

  • Elastic fibers and elastin receptor complex: Neuraminidase-1 takes the center stage
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-06-18
    Amar Bennasroune, Béatrice Romier-Crouzet, Sébastien Blaise, Muriel Laffargue, Roman G. Efremov, Laurent Martiny, Pascal Maurice, Laurent Duca

    Extracellular matrix (ECM) has for a long time being considered as a simple architectural support for cells. It is now clear that ECM presents a fundamental influence on cells driving their phenotype and fate. This complex network is highly specialized and the different classes of macromolecules that comprise the ECM determine its biological functions. For instance, collagens are responsible for the tensile strength of tissues, proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans are essential for hydration and resistance to compression, and glycoproteins such as laminins facilitate cell attachment. The largest structures of the ECM are the elastic fibers found in abundance in tissues suffering high mechanical constraints such as skin, lungs or arteries. These structures present a very complex composition whose core is composed of elastin surrounded by a microfibrils mantle. Elastogenesis is a tightly regulated process involving the sialidase activity of the Neuraminidase-1 (Neu-1) sub-unit of the Elastin Receptor Complex. Interestingly, Neu-1 subunit also serves as a sensor of elastin degradation via its ability to transmit elastin-derived peptides signaling. Finally, reports showing that neuraminidase activity is able to regulate TGF-β activation raises questions about a possible role for Neu-1 in elastic fibers remodeling. In this mini review, we develop the concept of the regulation of the whole life of elastic fibers through an original scope, the key role of Neu-1 sialidase enzymatic activity.

  • The role of fibrillin and microfibril binding proteins in elastin and elastic fibre assembly
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-06-18
    Alan R.F. Godwin, Mukti Singh, Michael P. Lockhart-Cairns, Yasmene F. Alanazi, Stuart A. Cain, Clair Baldock

    Fibrillin is a large evolutionarily ancient extracellular glycoprotein that assembles to form beaded microfibrils which are essential components of most extracellular matrices. Fibrillin microfibrils have specific biomechanical properties to endow animal tissues with limited elasticity, a fundamental feature of the durable function of large blood vessels, skin and lungs. They also form a template for elastin deposition and provide a platform for microfibril-elastin binding proteins to interact in elastic fibre assembly. In addition to their structural role, fibrillin microfibrils mediate cell signalling via integrin and syndecan receptors, and microfibrils sequester transforming growth factor (TGF)β family growth factors within the matrix to provide a tissue store which is critical for homeostasis and remodelling.

  • Collagen XIII-derived ectodomain regulates bone angiogenesis and intracortical remodeling
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-06-17
    Jarkko Koivunen, Antti V. Kemppainen, Mikko A. Finnilä, Riikka Keski-Filppula, Heli Härönen, Hongmin Tu, Henri Pellikka, Anne Heikkinen, Elina Kylmäoja, Raija Sormunen, Ilkka Miinalainen, Simo Saarakkala, Valerio Izzi, Taina Pihlajaniemi

    Osteoporosis is the most common degenerative bone disease that occurs when the balance of bone production and resorption is perturbed. Loss of bone mass or alteration in its quality leads to significant weakening of the bones and subsequently to higher fracture risk. Collagen XIII (ColXIII) is a conserved transmembrane protein expressed in many mesenchymal tissues. Here we show that ColXIII is a regulator of bone remodeling niche. In this study, we found that ColXIII expression is significantly upregulated in osteoporotic patients. In view of that, we studied bone homeostasis in ColXIII-overexpressing mice (Col13a1oe) up to 72 weeks of age and observed a cortical bone overgrowth followed by a drastic bone loss, together with increased bone vascularization. Moreover, our results demonstrate that the ColXIII-derived ectodomain enhances angiogenesis through β1-integrins and the JNK pathway. Consequently, these data suggest that ColXIII has a role in age-dependent cortical bone deterioration with possible implications for osteoporosis and fracture risk.

  • Tension in fibrils suppresses their enzymatic degradation – A molecular mechanism for ‘use it or lose it’
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-06-12
    Karanvir Saini, Sangkyun Cho, Lawrence J. Dooling, Dennis E. Discher

    Tissue homeostasis depends on a balance of synthesis and degradation of constituent proteins, with turnover of a given protein potentially regulated by its use. Extracellular matrix (ECM) is predominantly composed of fibrillar collagens that exhibit tension-sensitive degradation, which we review here at different levels of hierarchy. Past experiments and recent proteomics measurements together suggest that mechanical strain stabilizes collagen against enzymatic degradation at the scale of tissues and fibrils whereas isolated collagen molecules exhibit a biphasic behavior that depends on load magnitude. Within a Michaelis-Menten framework, collagenases at constant concentration effectively exhibit a low activity on substrate fibrils when the fibrils are strained by tension. Mechanisms of such mechanosensitive regulation are surveyed together with relevant interactions of collagen fibrils with cells.

  • Transcriptomic analysis reveals that BMP4 sensitizes glioblastoma tumor-initiating cells to mechanical cues
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-06-09
    Jasmine H. Hughes, Jeanette M. Ewy, Joseph Chen, Sophie Y. Wong, Kevin M. Tharp, Andreas Stahl, Sanjay Kumar

    The poor prognosis of glioblastoma (GBM) is associated with a highly invasive stem-like subpopulation of tumor-initiating cells (TICs), which drive recurrence and contribute to intra-tumoral heterogeneity through differentiation. These TICs are better able to escape extracellular matrix-imposed mechanical restrictions on invasion than their more differentiated progeny, and sensitization of TICs to extracellular matrix mechanics extends survival in preclinical models of GBM. However, little is known about the molecular basis of the relationship between TIC differentiation and mechanotransduction. Here we explore this relationship through a combination of transcriptomic analysis and studies with defined-stiffness matrices. We show that TIC differentiation induced by bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) suppresses expression of proteins relevant to extracellular matrix signaling and sensitizes TIC spreading to matrix stiffness. Moreover, our findings point towards a previously unappreciated connection between BMP4-induced differentiation, mechanotransduction, and metabolism. Notably, stiffness and differentiation modulate oxygen consumption, and inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation influences cell spreading in a stiffness- and differentiation-dependent manner. Our work integrates bioinformatic analysis with targeted molecular measurements and perturbations to yield new insight into how morphogen-induced differentiation influences how GBM TICs process mechanical inputs.

  • Covalent cross-linking of basement membrane-like matrices physically restricts invasive protrusions in breast cancer cells
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-06-01
    Katrina M. Wisdom, Dhiraj Indana, Pei-En Chou, Rajiv Desai, Taeyoon Kim, Ovijit Chaudhuri
  • Distinct glycosylation in membrane proteins within neonatal versus adult myocardial tissue
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-05-17
    Paolo Contessotto, Bradley W. Ellis, Chunsheng Jin, Niclas G. Karlsson, Pinar Zorlutuna, Michelle Kilcoyne, Abhay Pandit
  • Bioengineered scaffolds for 3D culture demonstrate extracellular matrix-mediated mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance in glioblastoma
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-04-24
    Weikun Xiao, Shanshan Wang, Rongyu Zhang, Alireza Sohrabi, Qi Yu, Sihan Liu, Arshia Ehsanipour, Jesse Liang, Rebecca D. Bierman, David A. Nathanson, Stephanie K. Seidlits
  • Engineering microenvironment for human cardiac tissue assembly in heart-on-a-chip platform
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-04-11
    Yimu Zhao, Naimeh Rafatian, Erika Y. Wang, Nicole T. Feric, Benjamin F.L. Lai, Ericka J. Knee-Walden, Peter H. Backx, Milica Radisic
  • Elastic fibers and biomechanics of the aorta: Insights from mouse studies
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-03-15
    Hiromi Yanagisawa, Jessica Wagenseil

    Elastic fibers are major components of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in the aorta and support a life-long cycling of stretch and recoil. Elastic fibers are formed from mid-gestation throughout early postnatal development and the synthesis is regulated at multiple steps, including coacervation, deposition, cross-linking, and assembly of insoluble elastin onto microfibril scaffolds. To date, more than 30 molecules have been shown to associate with elastic fibers and some of them play a critical role in the formation and maintenance of elastic fibers in vivo. Because the aorta is subjected to high pressure from the left ventricle, elasticity of the aorta provides the Windkessel effect and maintains stable blood flow to distal organs throughout the cardiac cycle. Disruption of elastic fibers due to congenital defects, inflammation, or aging dramatically reduces aortic elasticity and affects overall vessel mechanics. Another important component in the aorta is the vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Elastic fibers and SMCs alternate to create a highly organized medial layer within the aortic wall. The physical connections between elastic fibers and SMCs form the elastin-contractile units and maintain cytoskeletal organization and proper responses of SMCs to mechanical strain. In this review, we revisit the components of elastic fibers and their roles in elastogenesis and how a loss of each component affects biomechanics of the aorta. Finally, we discuss the significance of elastin-contractile units in the maintenance of SMC function based on knowledge obtained from mouse models of human disease.

  • Collagen fiber structure guides 3D motility of cytotoxic T lymphocytes
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-02-16
    Hawley C. Pruitt, Daniel Lewis, Mark Ciccaglione, Sydney Connor, Quinton Smith, John W. Hickey, Jonathan P. Schneck, Sharon Gerecht

    Lymphocyte motility is governed by a complex array of mechanisms, and highly dependent on external microenvironmental cues. Tertiary lymphoid sites in particular have unique physical structure such as collagen fiber alignment, due to matrix deposition and remodeling. Three dimensional studies of human lymphocytes in such environments are lacking. We hypothesized that aligned collagenous environment modulates CD8+ T cells motility. We encapsulated activated CD8+ T cells in collagen hydrogels of distinct fiber alignment, a characteristic of tumor microenvironments. We found that human CD8+ T cells move faster and more persistently in aligned collagen fibers compared with nonaligned collagen fibers. Moreover, CD8+ T cells move along the axis of collagen alignment. We showed that myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) inhibition could nullify the effect of aligned collagen on CD8+ T cell motility patterns by decreasing T cell turning in unaligned collagen fiber gels. Finally, as an example of a tertiary lymphoid site, we found that xenograft prostate tumors exhibit highly aligned collagen fibers. We observed CD8+ T cells alongside aligned collagen fibers, and found that they are mostly concentrated in the periphery of tumors. Overall, using an in vitro controlled hydrogel system, we show that collagen fiber organization modulates CD8+ T cells movement via MLCK activation thus providing basis for future studies into relevant therapeutics.

  • A novel ADAMTS17 variant that causes Weill-Marchesani syndrome 4 alters fibrillin-1 and collagen type I deposition in the extracellular matrix
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-11-11
    Stylianos Z. Karoulias, Aude Beyens, Zerina Balic, Sofie Symoens, Anthony Vandersteen, Andrea L. Rideout, John Dickinson, Bert Callewaert, Dirk Hubmacher

    Weill-Marchesani syndrome (WMS) is a rare genetic disorder that affects the musculoskeletal system, the eye, and the cardiovascular system. Individuals with WMS present with short stature, joint contractures, thick skin, microspherophakia, small and dislocated lenses, and cardiac valve anomalies. WMS can be caused by recessive mutations in ADAMTS10 (WMS 1), ADAMTS17 (WMS 4), or LTBP2 (WMS 3), or by dominant mutations in fibrillin-1 (FBN1) (WMS 2); all genes encode secreted extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Individuals with WMS 4 due to ADAMTS17 mutations appear to have less severe cardiac involvement and present predominantly with the musculoskeletal and ocular features of WMS. ADAMTS17 is a member of the ADAMTS family of secreted proteases and directly binds to fibrillins. Here we report a novel pathogenic variant in ADAMTS17 that causes WMS 4 in an individual with short stature, brachydactyly, and small, spherical, and dislocated lenses. We provide biochemical and cell biological insights in the pathomechanisms of WMS 4, which also suggest potential biological functions for ADAMTS17. We show that the variant in ADAMTS17 prevents its secretion and we found intracellular accumulation of fibrillin-1 and collagen type I in patient-derived skin fibroblasts. In accordance, transmission electron microscopy revealed elastic fiber abnormalities, decreased collagen fibril diameters, and intracellular collagen accumulation in the dermis of the proband. Together, the data indicate a possible role for ADAMTS17 in the secretion of fibrillin-1 and collagen type I or in their early assembly in the pericellular matrix or the ECM.

  • TonEBP-deficiency accelerates intervertebral disc degeneration underscored by matrix remodeling, cytoskeletal rearrangements, and changes in proinflammatory gene expression
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-11-09
    Steven Tessier, Victoria A. Tran, Olivia K. Ottone, Emanuel J. Novais, Alexandra Doolittle, Michael J. DiMuzio, Irving M. Shapiro, Makarand V. Risbud

    The tonicity-responsive enhancer binding protein (TonEBP) plays an important role in intervertebral disc and axial skeleton embryogenesis. However, the contribution of this osmoregulatory transcription factor in postnatal intervertebral disc homeostasis is not known in vivo. Here, we show for the first time that TonEBP-deficient mice have pronounced age-related degeneration of the intervertebral disc with annular and endplate herniations. Using FTIR-imaging spectroscopy, quantitative immunohistochemistry, and tissue-specific transcriptomic analysis, we provide morphological and molecular evidence that the overall phenotype is driven by a replacement of water-binding proteoglycans with fibrocartilaginous matrix. Whereas TonEBP deficiency in the AF compartment caused tissue fibrosis associated with alterations in actin cytoskeleton and adhesion molecules, predominant changes in pro-inflammatory pathways were seen in the NP compartment of mutants, underscoring disc compartment-specific effects. Additionally, TonEBP-deficient mice presented with compromised trabecular bone properties of vertebrae. These results provide the first in vivo support to the long-held hypothesis that TonEBP is crucial for postnatal homeostasis of the spine and controls a multitude of functions in addition to cellular osmoadpatation.

  • Accumulation of versican facilitates wound healing: implication of its initial ADAMTS-cleavage site
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-10-26
    Shamima Islam, Kantinan Chuensirikulchai, Saichit Khummuang, Tanyaporn Keratibumrungpong, Prachya Kongtawelert, Watchara Kasinrerk, Sonoko Hatano, Akiko Nagamachi, Hiroaki Honda, Hideto Watanabe

    Versican is a large chondroitin sulfate/dermatan sulfate proteoglycan in the extracellular matrix, and is expressed at high levels in tissues during development and remodeling in pathological conditions. Its core protein is cleaved at a region close to the N-terminal end of CSβ domain by several members of a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS) family, i.e., ADAMTS-1, 4, 5, 9, 15, and 20. Here, using a CRISPR/Cas9 system, we generated knock-in mice (V1R), which express an ADAMTS cleavage-resistant versican. Some V1R homozygote mice, termed R/R, exhibit syndactyly and organ hemorrhage. In wound healing experiments, R/R wound shows accumulation of versican and activated TGFβ-signaling in the early stage, leading to faster healing than wild type wound. Immunostaining for Ki67, CD31, smooth muscle α-actin, periostin demonstrates higher levels of overall cell proliferation and an increased number of endothelial cells and myofibroblasts. Immunostaining for CD11b and qRT-PCR for macrophage markers revealed increased levels of inflammatory cell infiltration, especially those of M1 macrophages. Cultured R/R dermal fibroblasts revealed increased deposition of versican, type I and III collagens, and hyaluronan, and upregulation of Smad2/3 signaling. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the cleavage site determines versican turnover and that versican plays a central role in the provisional matrix during the wound repair.

  • Elastic Fiber Ultrastructure and Assembly
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-10-24
    Beth A. Kozel, Robert P. Mecham

    Studies over the years have described a filamentous structure to mature elastin that suggests a complicated packing arrangement of tropoelastin subunits. The currently accepted mechanism for tropoelastin assembly requires microfibrils to serve as a physical extracellular scaffold for alignment of tropoelastin monomers during and before crosslinking. However, recent evidence suggests that the initial stages of tropoelastin assembly occur within the cell or at unique assembly sites on the plasma membrane where tropoelastin self assembles to form elastin aggregates. Outside the cell, elastin aggregates transfer to growing elastic fibers in the extracellular matrix where tensional forces on microfibrils generated through cell movement help shape the growing fiber. Overall, these observations challenge the widely held idea that interaction between monomeric tropoelastin and microfibrils is a requirement for elastin assembly, and point to self-assembly of tropoelastin as a driving force in elastin maturation.

  • Bipartite mechanism for laminin-integrin interactions: identification of the integrin-binding site in LG domains of the laminin α chain
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-10-24
    Yukimasa Taniguchi, Mamoru Takizawa, Shaoliang Li, Kiyotoshi Sekiguchi

    Laminins are major cell-adhesive proteins consisting of α, β, and γ chains, in which the three C-terminal globular domains of the α chain (LMα/LG1–3) and the C-terminal tail region of the γ1 chain (LMγ1-tail) are required for binding to integrin. Despite the recent progress on the role of LMγ1-tail in coordinating the metal ion-dependent adhesion site of the integrin β subunit, the mechanism by which LMα/LG1–3 interacts with integrin remains to be elucidated. We found that basic residues on the bottom face of LMα5/LG2 are required for binding laminin-511 to α6β1 integrin. Intermolecular cysteine scanning assays demonstrated that the basic residues in LMα5/LG2 were in contact with the acidic residues within the laminin-binding X1 region of the integrin α subunit in the laminin-integrin complex. These results indicate that LMα5/LG2 interacts directly with the integrin α subunit and comprises a bipartite integrin binding site of laminin-511 with the LMγ1-tail.

  • H-Ras activation and fibroblast-induced TGF-β signaling promote laminin-332 accumulation and invasion in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-10-24
    Elina Siljamäki, Pekka Rappu, Pilvi Riihilä, Liisa Nissinen, Veli-Matti Kähäri, Jyrki Heino

    Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) is the most common metastatic skin cancer, with increasing incidence worldwide. The molecular basis of cSCC progression to invasive and metastatic disease is still incompletely understood. Here, we show that fibroblasts and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling promote laminin-332 synthesis in cancer cells in an activated H-Ras-dependent manner, which in turn promotes cancer cell invasion. Immunohistochemical analysis of sporadic UV-induced invasive human cSCCs (n = 208) revealed prominent cSCC cell specific immunostaining for laminin-332 γ2 chain, located in the majority of cases (90%, n = 173) in the invasive edge of the tumors. To mimic the progression of cSCC we established 3D spheroid cocultures using primary skin fibroblasts and HaCaT/ras-HaCaT human keratinocytes. Our results indicate that in 3D spheroids, unlike in monolayer cultures, TGF-β upregulates laminin-332 production, but only in cells that harbour oncogenic H-Ras. Accumulation of laminin-332 was prevented by both H-Ras knock down and inhibition of TGF-β signaling by SB431542 or RAdKD-ALK5 kinase-defective adenovirus. Furthermore, fibroblasts accelerated the invasion of ras-HaCaT cells through collagen I gels in a Ras/TGF-β signaling dependent manner. In conclusion, we demonstrate the presence of laminin-332 in the invasive front of cSCC tumors and report a new Ras/TGF-β-dependent mechanism that promotes laminin-332 accumulation and cancer cell invasion.

  • Role of hypoxia in skeletal muscle fibrosis: Synergism between hypoxia and TGF-β signaling upregulates CCN2/CTGF expression specifically in muscle fibers
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-10-24
    Roger Valle-Tenney, Daniela Rebolledo, Kenneth E. Lipson, Enrique Brandan

    Several skeletal muscle diseases are characterized by fibrosis, the excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and connective tissue growth factor (CCN2/CTGF) are two profibrotic factors augmented in fibrotic skeletal muscle, together with signs of reduced vasculature that implies a decrease in oxygen supply. We observed that fibrotic muscles are characterized by the presence of positive nuclei for hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), a key mediator of the hypoxia response. However, it is not clear how a hypoxic environment could contribute to the fibrotic phenotype in skeletal muscle. We evaluated the role of hypoxia and TGF-β on CCN2 expression in vitro. Fibroblasts, myoblasts and differentiated myotubes were incubated with TGF-β1 under hypoxic conditions. Hypoxia and TGF-β1 induced CCN2 expression synergistically in myotubes but not in fibroblasts or undifferentiated muscle progenitors. This induction requires HIF-1α and the Smad-independent TGF-β signaling pathway. We performed in vivo experiments using pharmacological stabilization of HIF-1α or hypoxia-induced via hindlimb ischemia together with intramuscular injections of TGF-β1, and we found increased CCN2 expression. These observations suggest that hypoxic signaling together with TGF-β signaling, which are both characteristics of a fibrotic skeletal muscle environment, induce the expression of CCN2 in skeletal muscle fibers and myotubes.

  • A tribute to Ladislas Robert
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-10-24
    Marie-Paule Jacob, Sylvie Ricard-Blum

    This Thematic Minireview Series of Matrix Biology focused on elastin, from structure to disease celebrates the memory of Ladislas Robert, a pioneer in Matrix Biology in France and Europe. Since his first publication on elastin and elastases in 1957, the huge development in matrix biology led to major findings on elastic fibers and their component proteins including elastin architecture, the role of fibrillins and microfibril-binding proteins on elastin assembly, the effects of sequence variants of human tropoelastin on its assembly, structure and functions, the role of elastin peptides in health and diseases, the identification of neuraminidase-1 as a member of the elastin receptor complex, and the fate of elastic fibers upon aging, which are reviewed in this series. Two other reviews, focused on the design and use of elastin-like recombinamers as biomaterials, and on the circadian rhythms in skin and other elastic tissues, complete this series.

  • Type III Collagen is a Key Regulator of the Collagen Fibrillar Structure and Biomechanics of Articular Cartilage and Meniscus
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-10-23
    Chao Wang, Becky K. Brisson, Masahiko Terajima, Qing Li, Kevt’her Hoxha, Biao Han, Abby M. Goldberg, X. Sherry Liu, Michele S. Marcolongo, Motomi Enomoto-Iwamoto, Mitsuo Yamauchi, Susan W. Volk, Lin Han

    Despite the fact that type III collagen is the second most abundant collagen type in the body, its contribution to the physiologic maintenance and repair of skeletal tissues remains poorly understood. This study queried the role of type III collagen in the structure and biomechanical functions of two structurally distinctive tissues in the knee joint, type II collagen-rich articular cartilage and type I collagen-dominated meniscus. Integrating outcomes from atomic force microscopy-based nanomechanical tests, collagen fibril nanostructural analysis, collagen cross-linking analysis and histology, we elucidated the impact of type III collagen haplodeficiency on the morphology, nanostructure and biomechanical properties of articular cartilage and meniscus in Col3a1+/- mice. Reduction of type III collagen leads to increased heterogeneity and mean thickness of collagen fibril diameter, as well as reduced modulus in both tissues, and these effects became more pronounced with skeletal maturation. These data suggest a crucial role of type III collagen in mediating fibril assembly and biomechanical functions of both articular cartilage and meniscus during post-natal growth. In articular cartilage, type III collagen has a marked contribution to the micromechanics of the pericellular matrix, indicating a potential role in mediating the early stage of type II collagen fibrillogenesis and chondrocyte mechanotransduction. In both tissues, reduction of type III collagen leads to increased collagen cross-linking despite the decrease in modulus. This suggests that the disruption of matrix structure due to type III collagen deficiency outweighs the stiffening of collagen fibrils by increased cross-linking, leading to a net negative impact on tissue modulus. Collectively, this study is the first to highlight the crucial structural role of type III collagen in both articular cartilage and meniscus extracellular matrices. We expect these results to expand our understanding of type III collagen across various tissue types, and to uncover critical molecular components of the microniche for regenerative strategies targeting articular cartilage and meniscus repair.

  • Rise and fall of elastic fibers from development to aging. Consequences on arterial structure-function and therapeutical perspectives
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-09-04
    Wassim Fhayli, Quentin Boëté, Olfa Harki, Anne Briançon-Marjollet, Marie-Paule Jacob, Gilles Faury

    In the arteries of vertebrates, evolution has given rise to resilient macromolecular structures, elastin and elastic fibers, capable of sustaining an elevated blood pressure and smoothing the discontinuous blood flow and pressure generated by the heart. Elastic fibers are produced only during development and childhood, before being progressively degraded by mechanical stress and enzymatic activities during adulthood and aging. During this period, arterial elastic fiber calcification and loading of lipids also occur, all of these events conducting to arteriosclerosis. This leads to a progressive dysfunction of the large elastic arteries inducing elevated blood pressure as well as altered hemodynamics and organ perfusion, which induce more global malfunctions of the body during normal aging. Additionally, some arterial conditions occur more frequently with advancing age, such as atherosclerosis or aneurysms, which are called age-related diseases or pathological aging. The physiological or pathological degradation of elastic fibers and function of elastic arteries seemed to be rather inevitable over time. However, during the recent years, different molecules - including several ATP-dependent potassium channel openers - have been shown to re-induce elastin production and elastic fiber assembly, leading to improvements in the arterial structure and function or in organ perfusion. This review summarizes the changes in the arterial elastic fibers and structure from development until aging, and presents some of the potential pharmacotherapies leading to elastic fiber neosynthesis and arterial function improvement.

  • Abrogation of EMILIN1-β1 integrin interaction promotes experimental colitis and colon carcinogenesis
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-08-31
    Alessandra Capuano, Eliana Pivetta, Giulio Sartori, Giulia Bosisio, Andrea Favero, Eleonora Cover, Eva Andreuzzi, Alfonso Colombatti, Renato Cannizzaro, Eugenio Scanziani, Lucia Minoli, Francesco Bucciotti, Ana Isabel Amor Lopez, Katya Gaspardo, Roberto Doliana, Maurizio Mongiat, Paola Spessotto

    Colon cancer is one of the first tumor types where a functional link between inflammation and tumor onset has been described; however, the microenvironmental cues affecting colon cancer progression are poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that the expression of the ECM molecule EMILIN-1 halts the development of AOM-DSS induced tumors. In fact, upon AOM-DSS treatment the Emilin1−/− (E1−/−) mice were characterized by a higher tumor incidence, bigger adenomas and less survival. Similar results were obtained with the E933A EMILIN-1 (E1-E933A) transgenic mouse model, expressing a mutant EMILIN-1 unable to interact with α4/α9β1 integrins. Interestingly, upon chronic treatment with DSS, E1−/− and E1-E933A mice were characterized by the presence of increased inflammatory infiltrates, higher colitis scores and more severe mucosal injury respect to the wild type (E1+/+) mice. Since alterations of the intestinal lymphatic network are a well-established feature of human inflammatory bowel disease and EMILIN-1 is a key structural element in the maintenance of the integrity of lymphatic vessels, we assessed the lymphatic vasculature in this context. The analyses revealed that both E1−/− and E1-E933A mice displayed a higher density of LYVE-1 positive vessels; however, their functionality was severely compromised after colitis induction. Taken together, these results suggest that the loss of EMILIN-1 expression may cause the reduction of the inflammatory resolution during colon cancer progression due to a decreased lymph flow and impaired inflammatory cell drainage.

  • Rigidity controls human desmoplastic matrix anisotropy to enable pancreatic cancer cell spread via extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2018-11-07
    R. Malik, T. Luong, X. Cao, B. Han, N. Shah, J. Franco-Barraza, L. Han, V.B. Shenoy, P.I. Lelkes, E. Cukierman

    It is predicted that pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) will become the second most lethal cancer in the US by 2030. PDAC includes a fibrous-like stroma, desmoplasia, encompassing most of the tumor mass, which is produced by cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and includes their cell-derived extracellular matrices (CDMs). Since elimination of desmoplasia has proven detrimental to patients, CDM reprogramming, as opposed to stromal ablation, is therapeutically desirable. Hence, efforts are being made to harness desmoplasia's anti-tumor functions. We conducted biomechanical manipulations, using variations of pathological and physiological substrates in vitro, to culture patient-harvested CAFs and generate CDMs that restrict PDAC growth and spread. We posited that extrinsic modulation of the environment, via substrate rigidity, influences CAF's cell-intrinsic forces affecting CDM production. Substrates used were polyacrylamide gels of physiological (~1.5 kPa) or pathological (~7 kPa) stiffnesses. Results showed that physiological substrates influenced CAFs to generate CDMs similar to normal/control fibroblasts. We found CDMs to be softer than the corresponding underlying substrates, and CDM fiber anisotropy (i.e., alignment) to be biphasic and informed via substrate-imparted morphological CAF aspect ratios. The biphasic nature of CDM fiber anisotropy was mathematically modeled and proposed a correlation between CAF aspect ratios and CDM alignment; regulated by extrinsic and intrinsic forces to conserve minimal free energy. Biomechanical manipulation of CDMs, generated on physiologically soft substrates, leads to reduction in nuclear translocation of pERK1/2 in KRAS mutated pancreatic cells. ERK2 was found essential for CDM-regulated tumor cell spread. In vitro findings correlated with in vivo observations; nuclear pERK1/2 is significantly high in human PDAC samples. The study suggests that altering underlying substrates enable CAFs to remodel CDMs and restrict pancreatic cancer cell spread in an ERK2 dependent manner.

  • Multimerin-2 maintains vascular stability and permeability
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-08-15
    Rosanna Pellicani, Evelina Poletto, Eva Andreuzzi, Alice Paulitti, Roberto Doliana, Dario Bizzotto, Paola Braghetta, Roberta Colladel, Giulia Tarticchio, Patrizia Sabatelli, Francesco Bucciotti, Giorgio Bressan, Renato V. Iozzo, Alfonso Colombatti, Paolo Bonaldo, Maurizio Mongiat

    Multimerin-2 is an extracellular matrix glycoprotein and member of the elastin microfibril interface-located (EMILIN) family of proteins. Multimerin-2 is deposited along blood vessels and we previously demonstrated that it regulates the VEGFA/VEGFR2 signaling axis and angiogenesis. However, its role in modulating vascular homeostasis remains largely unexplored. Here we identified Multimerin-2 as a key molecule required to maintain vascular stability. RNAi knockdown of Multimerin-2 in endothelial cells led to cell-cell junctional instability and increased permeability. Mechanistically cell-cell junction dismantlement occurred through the phosphorylation of VEGFR2 at Tyr951, activation of Src and phosphorylation of VE-cadherin. To provide an in vivo validation for these in vitro effects, we generated Multimerin-2−/− (Mmrn2−/−) mice. Although Mmrn2−/− mice developed normally and displayed no gross abnormalities, endothelial cells displayed cell junctional defects associated with increased levels of VEGFR2 phospho-Tyr949 (the murine counterpart of human Tyr951), impaired pericyte recruitment and increased vascular leakage. Of note, tumor associated vessels were defective in Mmrn2−/− mice, with increased number of small and often collapsed vessels, concurrent with a significant depletion of pericytic coverage. Consequently, the Mmrn2−/− vessels were less perfused and leakier, leading to increased tumor hypoxia. Chemotherapy efficacy was markedly impaired in Mmrn2−/− mice and this was associated with poor drug delivery to the tumor xenografts. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that Multimerin-2 is required for proper vessel homeostasis and stabilization, and unveil the possibility to utilize expression levels of this glycoprotein in predicting chemotherapy efficacy.

  • Circadian rhythms in skin and other elastic tissues
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-08-15
    Michael J. Sherratt, Louise Hopkinson, Mark Naven, Sarah A. Hibbert, Matiss Ozols, Alexander Eckersley, Victoria L. Newton, Mike Bell, Qing-Jun Meng

    Circadian rhythms are daily oscillations that, in mammals, are driven by both a master clock, located in the brain, and peripheral clocks in cells and tissues. Approximately 10% of the transcriptome, including extracellular matrix components, is estimated to be under circadian control. Whilst it has been established that certain collagens and extracellular matrix proteases are diurnally regulated (for example in tendon, cartilage and intervertebral disc) the role played by circadian rhythms in mediating elastic fiber homeostasis is poorly understood. Skin, arteries and lungs are dynamic, resilient, elastic fiber-rich organs and tissues. In skin, circadian rhythms influence cell migration and proliferation, wound healing and susceptibility of the tissues to damage (from protease activity, oxidative stress and ultraviolet radiation). In the cardiovascular system, blood pressure and heart rate also follow age-dependent circadian rhythms whilst the lungs exhibit diurnal variations in immune response. In order better to understand these processes it will be necessary to characterise diurnal changes in extracellular matrix biology. In particular, given the sensitivity of peripheral clocks to external factors, the timed delivery of interventions (chronotherapy) has the potential to significantly improve the efficacy of treatments designed to repair and regenerate damaged cutaneous, vascular and pulmonary tissues.

  • Disrupted type II collagenolysis impairs angiogenesis, delays endochondral ossification and initiates aberrant ossification in mouse limbs
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2019-08-02
    S.J. Gauci, S.B. Golub, L. Tatarczuch, E. Lee, D. Chan, N.C. Walsh, C.B. Little, H. Stanton, Z. Lokmic, N.A. Sims, E.J. Mackie, A.J. Fosang

    Cartilage remodelling and chondrocyte differentiation are tightly linked to angiogenesis during bone development and endochondral ossification. To investigate whether collagenase-mediated cleavage of the major cartilage collagen (collagen II) plays a role in this process, we generated a knockin mouse in which the mandatory collagenase cleavage site at PQG775↓776LAG, was mutated to PPG775↓776MPG (Col2a1Bailey). This approach blocked collagen II cleavage, and the production of putative collagen II matrikines derived from this site, without modifying matrix metalloproteinase expression or activity. We report here that this mouse (Bailey) is viable. It has a significantly expanded growth plate and exhibits delayed and abnormal angiogenic invasion into the growth plate. Deeper electron microscopy analyses revealed that, at around five weeks of age, a small number of blood vessel(s) penetrate into the growth plate, leading to its abrupt shrinking and the formation of a bony bridge. Our results from in vitro and ex vivo studies suggest that collagen II matrikines stimulate the normal branching of endothelial cells and promote blood vessel invasion at the chondro-osseous junction. The results further suggest that failed collagenolysis in Bailey leads to expansion of the hypertrophic zone and formation of a unique post-hypertrophic zone populated with chondrocytes that re-enter the cell cycle and proliferate. The biological rescue of this in vivo phenotype features the loss of a substantial portion of the growth plate through aberrant ossification, and narrowing of the remaining portion that leads to limb deformation. Together, these data suggest that collagen II matrikines stimulate angiogenesis in skeletal growth and development, revealing novel strategies for stimulating angiogenesis in other contexts such as fracture healing and surgical applications.

  • Decorin counteracts disease progression in mice with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2018-12-05
    Francesca Cianfarani, Emanuela De Domenico, Alexander Nyström, Simona Mastroeni, Damiano Abeni, Enke Baldini, Salvatore Ulisse, Paolo Uva, Leena Bruckner-Tuderman, Giovanna Zambruno, Daniele Castiglia, Teresa Odorisio

    Loss-of-function mutations in the gene encoding type VII collagen underlie recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB), a disease characterized by skin and mucosal blistering, impaired wound healing, and diffuse dermal inflammation and fibrosis. Transforming growth factor-β signaling plays a crucial role in determining RDEB fibrotic microenvironment that leads to the development of disabling secondary disease manifestations, including hand and foot deformities. Experimental findings indicate that expression levels of decorin, a small leucine-rich proteoglycan and an endogenous TGF-β inhibitor, can modulate RDEB disease phenotype by contrasting dermal fibroblast fibrotic behavior. In this study, the ability of decorin to modify RDEB course was investigated by systemically treating RDEB mice with a lentivirus expressing human decorin. Overexpressed decorin was able to enhance survival, and to limit digit contraction and the development of paw deformities. These effects were associated with decreased TGF-β1 levels and TGF-β signaling activation. Fibrotic traits were strongly reduced in paw skin and also attenuated in the non-chronically injured back skin. However, the expression of pro-inflammatory proteins was not decreased in both paw and back skin. Our findings confirm TGF-β role in promoting fibrosis and disease progression in RDEB, and show that decorin counteracts disease manifestations by inhibiting TGF-β activation. More generally, our data indicate that modifying extracellular matrix composition is an option to improve RDEB disease course.

  • Integrin binding site within the gC1q domain orchestrates EMILIN-1-induced lymphangiogenesis
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2018-10-26
    Alessandra Capuano, Eliana Pivetta, Francesca Baldissera, Giulia Bosisio, Bruna Wassermann, Francesco Bucciotti, Alfonso Colombatti, Patrizia Sabatelli, Roberto Doliana, Paola Spessotto

    Lymphatic vessels (LVs) play a pivotal role in the control of tissue homeostasis and also have emerged as important regulators of immunity, inflammation and tumor metastasis. EMILIN-1 is the first ECM protein identified as a structural modulator of the growth and maintenance of LV; accordingly, Emilin1−/− mice display lymphatic morphological alterations leading to functional defects as mild lymphedema, leakage and compromised lymph drainage. Many EMILIN-1 functions are exerted by the binding of its gC1q domain with the E933 residue of α4 and α9β1 integrins. To investigate the specific regulatory role of this domain on lymphangiogenesis, we generated a transgenic mouse model expressing an E933A-mutated EMILIN-1 (E1-E933A), unable to interact with α4 or α9 integrin. The mutant resulted in abnormal LV architecture with dense, tortuous and irregular networks; moreover, the number of anchoring filaments was reduced and collector valves had aberrant narrowed structures. E933A mutation also affected lymphatic function in lymphangiography assays and made the transgenic mice more prone to lymph node metastases. The finding that the gC1q/integrin interaction is crucial for a correct lymphangiogenesis response was confirmed and reinforced by functional in vitro tubulogenesis assays. In addition, ex vivo thoracic-duct ring assays revealed that E1-E933A-derived lymphatic endothelial cells had a severe reduction in sprouting capacity and were unable to organize into capillary-like structures. All these data provide evidence that the novel “regulatory structural” role of EMILIN-1 in the lymphangiogenic process is played by the integrin binding site within its gC1q domain.

  • Regulation of extracellular matrix degradation and metastatic spread by IQGAP1 through endothelin-1 receptor signalling in ovarian cancer
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2018-10-25
    Lidia Chellini, Valentina Caprara, Francesca Spadaro, Rosanna Sestito, Anna Bagnato, Laura Rosanò
  • Mutations in PLOD3, encoding lysyl hydroxylase 3, cause a complex connective tissue disorder including recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa-like blistering phenotype with abnormal anchoring fibrils and type VII collagen deficiency
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2018-11-18
    Hassan Vahidnezhad, Leila Youssefian, Amir Hossein Saeidian, Andrew Touati, Sara Pajouhanfar, Taghi Baghdadi, Azam Ahmadi Shadmehri, Cecilia Giunta, Marius Kraenzlin, Delfien Syx, Fransiska Malfait, Cristina Has, Su M. Lwin, Razieh Karamzadeh, Lu Liu, Alyson Guy, Mohammad Hamid, Ariana Kariminejad, Jouni Uitto

    Epidermolysis bullosa (EB), the paradigm of heritable skin fragility disorders, is associated with mutations in as many as 20 distinct genes. One of the clinical variants, recessive dystrophic EB (RDEB), demonstrates sub-lamina densa blistering accompanied by alterations in anchoring fibrils due to mutations in COL7A1. In this study, we characterized a patient with widespread connective tissue abnormalities, including skin blistering similar to that in RDEB. Whole exome sequencing, combined with genome-wide homozygosity mapping, identified a homozygous missense mutation in PLOD3 encoding lysyl hydroxylase 3 (LH3). No mutations in COL7A1, the gene previously associated with RDEB, were detected. The level of LH3 was dramatically reduced in the skin and fibroblast cultures from the patient. The blistering in the skin occurred below the lamina densa and was associated with variable density and morphology of anchoring fibrils. The level of type VII collagen expression in the skin was markedly reduced. Analysis of hydroxylysine and its glycosylated derivatives (galactosyl-hydroxylysine and glucosyl-galactosyl-hydroxylysine) revealed marked reduction in glycosylated hydroxylysine. Collectively, these findings indicate that PLOD3 mutations can result in a dystrophic EB-like phenotype in the spectrum of connective tissue disorders and add it to the list of candidate genes associated with skin fragility.

  • Calcium activated nucleotidase 1 (CANT1) is critical for glycosaminoglycan biosynthesis in cartilage and endochondral ossification
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2018-11-12
    Chiara Paganini, Luca Monti, Rossella Costantini, Roberta Besio, Silvia Lecci, Marco Biggiogera, Kun Tian, Jean-Marc Schwartz, Céline Huber, Valérie Cormier-Daire, Beth G. Gibson, Katarzyna A. Pirog, Antonella Forlino, Antonio Rossi

    Desbuquois dysplasia type 1 (DBQD1) is a chondrodysplasia caused by mutations in CANT1 gene encoding an ER/Golgi calcium activated nucleotidase 1 that hydrolyses UDP. Here, using Cant1 knock-in and knock-out mice recapitulating DBQD1 phenotype, we report that CANT1 plays a crucial role in cartilage proteoglycan synthesis and in endochondral ossification. Specifically, the glycosaminoglycan synthesis was decreased in chondrocytes from Cant1 knock-out mice and their hydrodynamic size was reduced, whilst the sulfation was increased and the overall proteoglycan secretion was delayed. Interestingly, knock-out chondrocytes had dilated ER cisternae suggesting delayed protein secretion and cellular stress; however, no canonical ER stress response was detected using microarray analysis, Xbp1 splicing and protein levels of BiP and ATF4. The observed proteoglycan defects caused deregulated chondrocyte proliferation and maturation in the growth plate resulting in the reduced skeletal growth. In conclusion, the pathogenic mechanism of DBQD1 comprises deregulated chondrocyte performance due to defective intracellular proteoglycan synthesis and altered proteoglycan properties in the extracellular matrix.

  • Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein initiates cancer stem cells through activation of Jagged1-Notch3 signaling
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2018-11-28
    Konstantinos S. Papadakos, Michael Bartoschek, Carmen Rodriguez, Chrysostomi Gialeli, Shao-Bo Jin, Urban Lendahl, Kristian Pietras, Anna M. Blom

    Cancer stem cell populations are important for the initiation, progression and metastasis of tumors. The mechanisms governing cancer stem cell control are only partially understood, but activation of the Notch3 pathway plays a crucial role in the maintenance of breast cancer stem cells. Expression of Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein (COMP) in breast cancer cells is correlated with poor survival and higher recurrence rates in patients. In this study, we provide in vivo and in vitro evidence that COMP expression increases the proportion of cancer stem cells in breast cancer. Thus, MDA-MB-231 and BT-20 cells expressing COMP formed larger tumorspheres in vivo and in vitro and displayed higher ALDH-activity than cells lacking COMP. Additionally, BT-20 COMP-expressing cells displayed higher expression of CD133 compared with the control cells. Furthermore, among the different Notch receptors, Notch3 is specifically activated in COMP-expressing cells. Mechanistically, activation of Notch3 is mediated by secreted, polymeric COMP, which interacts with both Notch3 and its ligand Jagged1, bridging the receptor and ligand together, enhancing Notch3-specific signaling. COMP-dependent Notch3 activation also leads to cross-talk with β-Catenin and AKT pathways. Using the model of MMTV-PyMT mouse breast tumorigenesis, we observed a decrease in the size of tumors and the amount of cancer stem cells as well as reduced Notch3 activation, in COMP knockout mice in comparison to wild type mice. In conclusion, we reveal a novel molecular mechanism whereby COMP regulates the cancer stem cell population through increasing the interaction between Notch3 and Jagged1, leading to increased activation of Notch3 signaling.

  • Matrix modeling and remodeling: A biological interplay regulating tissue homeostasis and diseases
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2018-08-18
    Nikos K. Karamanos, Achilleas D. Theocharis, Thomas Neill, Renato V. Iozzo

    The overall structure and architecture of the extracellular matrix undergo dramatic alterations in composition, form, and functionality over time. The stochasticity begins during development, essential for maintaining organismal homeostasis and is heavily implicated in many pathobiological states including fibrosis and cancer. Modeling and remodeling of the matrix is driven by the local cellular milieu and secreted and cell-associated components in a framework of dynamic reciprocity. This collection of expertly-written reviews aims to relay state-of-the-art information concerning the mechanisms of matrix modeling and remodeling in physiological development and disease.

  • Extracellular matrix contribution to skin wound re-epithelialization
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2018-01-10
    Patricia Rousselle, Marine Montmasson, Cécile Garnier

    The ability of skin to act as a barrier is primarily determined by cells that maintain the continuity and integrity of skin and restore it after injury. Cutaneous wound healing in adult mammals is a complex multi-step process that involves overlapping stages of blood clot formation, inflammation, re-epithelialization, granulation tissue formation, neovascularization, and remodeling. Under favorable conditions, epidermal regeneration begins within hours after injury and takes several days until the epithelial surface is intact due to reorganization of the basement membrane. Regeneration relies on numerous signaling cues and on multiple cellular processes that take place both within the epidermis and in other participating tissues. A variety of modulators are involved, including growth factors, cytokines, matrix metalloproteinases, cellular receptors, and extracellular matrix components. Here we focus on the involvement of the extracellular matrix proteins that impact epidermal regeneration during wound healing.

  • Extracellular matrix alterations in senescent cells and their significance in tissue homeostasis
    Matrix Biol. (IF 6.986) Pub Date : 2017-10-21
    Eleni Mavrogonatou, Harris Pratsinis, Adamantia Papadopoulou, Nikos K. Karamanos, Dimitris Kletsas

    Normal cells after a defined number of successive divisions or after exposure to genotoxic stresses are becoming senescent, characterized by a permanent growth arrest. In addition, they secrete increased levels of pro-inflammatory and catabolic mediators, collectively termed “senescence-associated secretory phenotype”. Furthermore, senescent cells exhibit an altered expression and organization of many extracellular matrix components, leading to specific remodeling of their microenvironment. In this review we present the current knowledge on extracellular matrix alterations associated with cellular senescence and critically discuss certain characteristic examples, highlighting the ambiguous role of senescent cells in the homeostasis of various tissues under both normal and pathologic conditions.

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