Author(s): Lundin L, Larsson H, Kreuger J, Kanda S, Lindahl U,
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Abstract Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are known to induce formation of new blood vessels, angiogenesis. We show that FGF-induced angiogenesis can be modulated using selectively desulfated heparin. Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO677) deficient in heparan sulfate biosynthesis were employed to assess the function of heparin/heparan sulfate in FGF receptor-1 (FGFR-1) signal transduction and biological responses. In the presence of FGF-2, FGFR-1 kinase and subsequent mitogen-activated protein kinase Erk2 activities were augmented in a dose-dependent manner, whereas high concentrations of heparin resulted in decreased activity. The length of the heparin oligomer, minimally an 8/10-mer, was critical for the ability to enhance FGFR-1 kinase activity. The N- and 2-O-sulfate groups of heparin were essential for binding to FGF-2, whereas stimulation of FGFR-1 and Erk2 kinases by FGF-2 also required the presence of 6-O-sulfate groups. Sulfation at 2-O- and 6-O-positions was moreover a prerequisite for binding of heparin to a lysine-rich peptide corresponding to amino acids 160-177 in the extracellular domain of FGFR-1. Selectively 6-O-desulfated heparin, which binds to FGF-2 but fails to bind the receptor, decreased FGF-2-induced proliferation of CHO677 cells, presumably by displacing intact heparin. Furthermore, FGF-2-induced angiogenesis in chick embryos was inhibited by 6-O-desulfated heparin. Thus, formation of a ternary complex of FGF-2, heparin, and FGFR-1 appears critical for the activation of FGFR-1 kinase and downstream signal transduction. Preventing complex formation by modified heparin preparations may allow regulation of FGF-2 functions, such as induction of angiogenesis.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy