Structure and interactions of proteoglycans in the extracellular matrix produced by cultured human fibroblasts. Academic Article uri icon


  • Subconfluent cultures of human embryonic skin fibroblasts were labelled with [35S]sulphate for 3 days, after which cell-free extracellular matrix was isolated. A chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan (CSPG) and a heparan sulphate proteoglycan (HSPG) were purified from the matrix. Chromatography on Sepharose CL-2B gave peak Kav. values of 0.35 and 0.38 respectively for the CSPG and the HSPG. The polysaccharide chains released from the two PGs were of similar size (Kav. 0.50 on Sepharose CL-4B). Approx. 50% of the CSPG showed affinity for hyaluronic acid (HA). However, it differed immunologically from the HA-aggregating CSPG of human articular cartilage, and had a larger core protein (apparent molecular mass 290 kDa) than had the cartilage PG. Neither metabolically [35S]sulphate-labelled PGs, isolated from the medium of fibroblast cultures, nor chemically 3H-labelled polysaccharides (HA, CS, HS and heparin) were incorporated into the extracellular matrix when added to unlabelled cell cultures. These results indicate that the matrix PGs are not derived from the PGs present in the medium and that an interation between polysaccharide chains and matrix components is not sufficient for incorporation of PGs into the matrix. Incubation of cell-free 35S-labelled matrix with unlabelled polysaccharides did not lead to the release of any 35S-labelled material, supporting this conclusion. Furthermore, so-called 'link proteins' were not present in the fibroblast cultures, indicating that the CSPGs were anchored in the matrix in a manner different from the link-stabilized association of CSPG with HA in chondrocyte matrix. The identification of a proteinase, secreted by fibroblasts in culture, that after activation with heparin has the ability to release 35S-labelled PGs from the matrix may also indicate that the core proteins are important for the association of the PGs to the matrix.

published proceedings

  • Biochem J

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Johansson, S., Hedman, K., Kjelln, L., Christner, J., Vaheri, A., & Hk, M.

citation count

  • 35

complete list of authors

  • Johansson, S||Hedman, K||Kjellén, L||Christner, J||Vaheri, A||Höök, M

publication date

  • January 1985