Thrombospondin-1 promotes matrix homeostasis by interacting with collagen and lysyl oxidase precursors and collagen cross-linking sites

Silvia Rosini, Nicholas Pugh, Arkadiusz M. Bonna, David J.S. Hulmes, Richard W. Farndale, Josephine C. Adams*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)
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Fibrillar collagens of the extracellular matrix are critical for tissue structure and physiology; however, excessive or abnormal deposition of collagens is a defining feature of fibrosis. Regulatory mechanisms that act on collagen fibril assembly potentially offer new targets for antifibrotic treatments. Tissue weakening, altered collagen fibril morphologies, or both, are shared phenotypes of mice lacking matricellular thrombospondins. Thrombospondin-1 (TSP1) plays an indirect role in collagen homeostasis through interactions with matrix metalloproteinases and transforming growth factor–1 (TGF-1). We found that TSP1 also affects collagen fibril formation directly. Compared to skin from wild-type mice, skin from Thbs1-/- mice had reduced collagen cross-linking and reduced prolysyl oxidase (proLOX) abundance with increased conversion to catalytically active LOX. In vitro, TSP1 bound to both the C-propeptide domain of collagen I and the highly conserved KGHR sequences of the collagen triple-helical domain that participate in cross-linking. TSP1 also bound to proLOX and inhibited proLOX processing by bone morphogenetic protein-1. In human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs), TSP1 and collagen I colocalized in intracellular vesicles and on extracellular collagen fibrils, whereas TSP1 and proLOX colocalized only in intracellular vesicles. Inhibition of LOX-mediated collagen cross-linking did not prevent the extracellular association between collagen and TSP1; however, treatment of HDFs with KGHR-containing, TSP1-binding, triple-helical peptides disrupted the collagen-TSP1 association, perturbed the collagen extracellular matrix, and increased myofibroblastic differentiation in a manner that depended on TGF- receptor 1. Thus, the extracellular KGHR-dependent interaction of TSP1 with fibrillar collagens contributes to fibroblast homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaar2566
Number of pages16
JournalScience Signaling
Issue number532
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2018


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