The Journal of biological chemistry

The G3 domain of versican enhances cell proliferation via epidermial growth factor-like motifs.

PMID 9694895


Versican is a member of the large aggregating chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan family. We have expressed in NIH3T3 fibroblasts a recombinant versican mini-gene comprising the G1 and G3 domains and 15% of the CS domain. We observed that expression of the mini-versican gene stimulated cell proliferation as determined by cell counting and cell cycle analysis. Addition of exogenous mini-versican protein to cultured cells produced the same result. The effects of the mini-versican were greatly reduced when the G3 domain was deleted. Expression of the G3 domain alone promotes cell proliferation, and addition of purified G3 gene products to NIH3T3 fibroblasts and cultured chicken fibroblasts enhances cell growth. Further, deletion of the epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like motifs in the versican G3 domain reduced the effects of the mini-versican on cell proliferation. In the presence of the purified mini-versican protein, antisense oligonucleotides to the EGF receptor inhibited proliferation of NIH3T3 fibroblasts, compared with control sense oligonucleotides. Taken together, these results imply that versican enhances cell proliferation, and this effect is mediated, at least in part, by the action of versican EGF-like motifs on endogenous EGF receptor.

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