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PloS one

Heparanase facilitates cell adhesion and spreading by clustering of cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans.


PMID 18545691

Abstract

Heparanase is a heparan sulfate (HS) degrading endoglycosidase participating in extracellular matrix degradation and remodeling. Apart of its well characterized enzymatic activity, heparanase was noted to exert also enzymatic-independent functions. Non-enzymatic activities of heparanase include enhanced adhesion of tumor-derived cells and primary T-cells. Attempting to identify functional domains of heparanase that would serve as targets for drug development, we have identified heparin binding domains of heparanase. A corresponding peptide (residues Lys(158)-Asp(171), termed KKDC) was demonstrated to physically associate with heparin and HS, and to inhibit heparanase enzymatic activity. We hypothesized that the pro-adhesive properties of heparanase are mediated by its interaction with cell surface HS proteoglycans, and utilized the KKDC peptide to examine this possibility. We provide evidence that the KKDC peptide interacts with cell membrane HS, resulting in clustering of syndecan-1 and syndecan-4. We applied classical analysis of cell morphology, fluorescent and time-lapse microscopy and demonstrated that the KKDC peptide efficiently stimulates the adhesion and spreading of various cell types, mediated by PKC, Src, and the small GTPase Rac1. These results support, and further substantiate the notion that heparanase function is not limited to its enzymatic activity.