Fibronectin fragments and domain-specific antibodies have been used to study the mechanism by which cells reorganize exogenous fibronectin substrata into fibrils. Fibroblasts prevented from protein synthesis, and hence not secreting endogenous fibronectin or other matrix components, reorganized exogenous fibronectin substrata into arrays resembling the matrix of normally cultured cells. Cells also formed fibrils from substrata containing mixtures of cell- and either of two different heparin-binding fibronectin fragments but not from either fragment alone. The gelatin-binding fragment alone or in conjunction with the cell-binding fragment did not promote fibril formation. Antibodies recognizing cell- and either heparin- or the gelatin-binding domains labeled fibrils formed by cells under normal culture conditions or when a substratum of intact fibronectin was used as the sole exogenous source. However, only antibodies recognizing the cell- or either heparin-binding fragment reduced fibrillogenesis from intact fibronectin substrates when added during cell spreading. These data suggest that formation of fibronectin fibrils can occur at the cell surface and that membrane components recognizing the cell- and the heparin-binding domains in fibronectin may cooperate in the assembly process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology