Alternative splicing of the IIICS domain in fibronectin governs the role of the heparin II domain in fibrillogenesis and cell spreading

J Biol Chem. 2002 Apr 19;277(16):13650-8. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111361200. Epub 2002 Feb 6.


The Heparin (Hep) II-binding domain of fibronectin regulates the formation of focal adhesions and actin stress fibers and hence plays an important role in cell spreading, migration, and fibronectin fibrillogenesis. Using human skin fibroblast cultures, we demonstrate that alternative splicing of the neighboring IIICS domain may regulate the activities of the Hep II domain in cell spreading and fibronectin fibrillogenesis. Recombinant Hep II domains, adjacent to either the IIICS domain or the H89 splice variant that contains the amino-terminal sequence of the IIICS domain, blocked fibronectin fibrillogenesis and required sulfated proteoglycans to mediate cell spreading. If the Hep II domain was adjacent to either the H0 or H95 splice variants, which both lack the amino terminus of the IIICS domain, fibrillogenesis was not inhibited and cell spreading was independent of a sulfated proteoglycan-mediated mechanism. The effect of the splice variants on the Hep II domain could be mimicked using a Hep II domain that contained only 6 amino acids from the III(15) repeat or 10 amino acids from the IIICS domain suggesting that sequences proximal to the III(14) repeat determined the role of the Hep II domain in these processes. We propose that alternative splicing of the IIICS domain modulates interactions between heparan sulfate proteoglycans and the Hep II domain and that this serves as a mechanism to control the biological activities of fibronectin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fibroblasts / cytology*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibronectins / chemistry*
  • Fibronectins / genetics
  • Fibronectins / metabolism
  • Heparin / chemistry*
  • Heparin / metabolism
  • Heparitin Sulfate / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / pharmacology
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Fibronectins
  • Ligands
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • Proteoglycans
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Heparin
  • Heparitin Sulfate