Type XIII collagen : characterization of ectodomain shedding and its biological implications in mammalian cells, characterization of type XIII collagen expression in human cancers
Väisänen, Marja-Riitta (2005-11-22)
Type XIII collagen is an integral membrane protein in type II orientation. In cells and tissues type XIII collagen has been located in various adhesive structures, like focal adhesions. Due to this, its biological role has been implicated in cell adhesion. This collagen also exists as a soluble protein due to the release of the ectodomain from the plasma membrane.
In this thesis, ectodomain shedding, i.e. enzymatic release of the extracellular domain, was studied in detail, focusing on the phenomenon as it occurs in mammalian cells. It was found that the ectodomain is released by members of the mammalian proprotein convertase family, e.g. furin. Shedding was shown to take place at the cell surface, but based on additional observations, this cleavage may also take place intracellularly in the Golgi apparatus. Various intracellular mechanisms, depending on cell type, were found to be involved in the regulation of ectodomain shedding. Apparently, due to the liberation of the ectodomain, the level of type XIII collagen on the plasma membrane is maintained at a relatively even amount.
The released ectodomain was shown to retain biological activity. It showed distinct matrix-specificity so that on vitronectin its influence on cell functions was anti-adhesive, anti-migratory, anti-proliferative and non-supportive of cell spreading. It was also demonstrated to affect the fibronectin matrix assembly in a manner that resulted in reduced amounts of the fibrillar fibronectin matrix.
A large collection of human epithelial and mesenchymal cancer samples were screened for type XIII collagen mRNA expression and compared to the expression levels of pre-malignant and normal samples. It was discovered that malignant transformation upregulates the expression of type XIII collagen in mesenchymal cancers and particularly in the stroma of epithelial cancers, more so than in cancer epithelia. TGF-β1 was demonstrated as one factor contributing to the stimulation of expression. Based on cell culture experiments in this study, it was also deduced that the upregulated expression of type XIII collagen and the concomitant shedding of the ectodomain can remodel the tumour stroma, making it inauspicious for adhesion-dependent cell functions, particularly in vitronectin-rich milieu.
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