Suppression of autocrine and paracrine functions of basic fibroblast growth factor by stable expression of perlecan antisense cDNA

David Aviezer, Renato V. Iozzo, Douglas M. Noonan, Avner Yayon

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104 Scopus citations


Heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG) play a critical role in the formation of distinct fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-HS complexes, augmenting high-affinity binding and receptor activation. Perlecan, a secreted HSPG abundant in proliferating cells, is capable of inducing FGF-receptor interactions in vitro and angiogenesis in vivo. Stable and specific reduction of perlecan levels in mouse NIH 3T3 fibroblasts and human metastatic melanoma cells has been achieved by expression of antisense cDNA corresponding to the N-terminal and HS attachment domains of perlecan. Long-term perlecan downregulation is evidenced by reduced levels of perlecan mRNA and core protein as indicated by Northern blot analysis, immunoblots, and immunohistochemistry, using DNA probes and antibodies specific to mouse or human perlecan. The response of antisense perlecan-expressing cells to increasing concentrations of basic FGF (bFGF) is dramatically reduced in comparison to that in wild-type or vector-transfected cells, as measured by thyroidine incorporation and rate of proliferation. Furthermore, receptor binding and affinity labeling of antisense perlecan-transfected cells with 125I-FGF is markedly inhibited, indicating that eliminating perlecan expression results in reduced high-affinity bFGF binding. Both the binding and mitogenic response of antisense-perlecan-expressing clones to bFGF can be rescued by exogenous heparin or perlecan. These results support the notion that perlecan is a major accessory receptor for bFGF in mouse fibroblasts and human melanomas and point to the possible use of perlecan antisense constructs as specific modulators of bFGF-mediated responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1938-1946
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1997
Externally publishedYes


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