PloS one

SPARC fusion protein induces cellular adhesive signaling.

PMID 23349702


Secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) has been described as a counteradhesive matricellular protein with a diversity of biological functions associated with morphogenesis, remodeling, cellular migration, and proliferation. We have produced mouse SPARC with a FLAG-tag at the N-terminus of SPARC (Flag-SPARC, FSP) in a Bac-to-Bac baculoviral expression system. After affinity purification, this procedure yields SPARC of high purity, with an electrophoretic mobility of ∼44 kDa under reducing conditions, and ∼38-39 kDa under non-reducing conditions. Unexpectedly, FSP adsorbed to plastic supported cell attachment and spreading, in a calcium-dependent manner. The adhesive activity of native FSP was inhibited by prior incubation with anti-SPARC IgG. Cell adhesion to FSP induced the formation of filopodia and lamellipodia but not focal adhesions that were prominent on cells that were attached to fibronectin. In addition, FSP induced the tyrosine phosphorylation of FAK and paxillin in attached epithelial cells. Erk1/2 and Rac were also activated in cells attached to FSP, but at a lower level in comparison to cells on fibronectin. This study provides new insight into the biological functions of SPARC, a matricellular protein with important roles in cell-extracellualr matrix interactions.