Vitronectin – master controller or micromanager?
Leavesley, David I., Kashyap, Abhishek S., Croll, Tristan, Sivaramakrishnan, Manaswini, Shokoohmand, Ali, Hollier, Brett G., & Upton, Zee (2013) Vitronectin – master controller or micromanager? IUBMB Life, 65(10), pp. 807-818.
The concept of the cellular glycoprotein vitronectin acts as a biological ‘glue’ and key controller of mammalian tissue repair and remodelling activity is emerging from nearly 50 years of experimental in vitro and in vivo data. Unexpectedly, the vitronectin-knock-out mouse was found to be viable and to have largely normal phenotype. However, diligent observation revealed that the VN-KO animal exhibits delayed coagulation and poor wound healing. This is interpreted to indicate that vitronectin occupies a role in the earliest events of thrombogenesis and tissue repair. That role is as a foundation upon which the thrombus grows in an organised structure. In addition to closing the wound, the thrombus also serves to protect the underlying tissue from oxidation, is a reservoir of mitogens and tissue repair mediators and provides a provisional scaffold for the repairing tissue. In the absence of vitronectin (e.g. VN-KO animal) this cascade is disrupted before it begins.
Our data demonstrates that a wide variety of biologically active species associate with VN. While initial studies were focused on mitogens, other classes of bioactives (e.g. glycosaminoglycans, metalloproteinases) are now also known to specifically interact with VN. Many of these interactions are long-lived, often resulting in multi-protein complexes, while others are stable for prolonged periods. Multiprotein complexes provide several advantages: prolonging molecular interaction; sustaining local concentrations, facilitating co-stimulation of cell surface receptors and thereby enhancing cellular / biological responses. We contend that these, or equivalent, multi-protein complexes mediate vitronectin functionality in vivo. It is also likely that many of the species demonstrated to associate with vitronectin in vitro, also associate with vitronectin in vivo in similar multi-protein complexes. Thus the predominant biological function of vitronectin is that of a master controller of the extracellular environment; informing, and possibly instructing cells ‘where’ to behave, ‘when’ to behave, and ‘how’ to behave (i.e. appropriately for the current circumstance).
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