Transforming growth factor-beta1 induces heparan sulfate 6-O-endosulfatase 1 expression in vitro and in vivo

J Biol Chem. 2008 Jul 18;283(29):20397-407. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M802850200. Epub 2008 May 23.


Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 plays an important role in the development of pulmonary fibrosis. In this study we examined the relationship between TGF-beta1 stimulation and the expression of heparan sulfate (HS) 6-O-endosulfatase 1 (Sulf1) in cultured normal human lung fibroblasts (NHLFs) and in murine lungs in vivo. By removing 6-O-sulfates from specific HS intrachain sites on the cell surface, Sulf1 has been shown to modulate the activities of many HS binding growth factors and morphogens including fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2. Real time reverse transcription-PCR analysis revealed that TGF-beta1 increased Sulf1 expression in NHLFs in a dose- and time-dependent manner which was accompanied by a decrease in 6-O-sulfated disaccharides as revealed by high performance liquid chromatography analysis. Decreased ERK activation after FGF-2 stimulation was observed in TGF-beta1-treated NHLFs compared with control cells without changes in HS-dependent FGF-2 binding or FGF-2.FR1c complex formation. To study the function of Sulf1, negative control or Sulf1-specific small interference RNA (siRNA)-transfected NHLFs were stimulated with TGF-beta1. Enhanced Smad2/3 phosphorylation and elevated total Smad2 protein level were observed in Sulf1 siRNA-transfected cells and were accompanied by enhanced expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin and fibronectin. In addition, Sulf1 siRNA transfection enhanced the anti-proliferative effect of TGF-beta1. Finally Sulf1 expression was up-regulated in the lungs of mice treated with adenovirus encoding active TGF-beta1. Taken together, our data indicate that Sulf1 is a TGF-beta1-responsive gene both in vitro and in vivo and may function as a negative regulator of TGF-beta1-induced fibrogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Down-Regulation
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects*
  • Heparitin Sulfate / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Sulfotransferases / genetics
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / pharmacology*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • Heparitin Sulfate
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • SULF1 protein, human
  • Sulf1 protein, mouse
  • Sulfotransferases