The CCN family of genes: a perspective on CCN biology and therapeutic potential

J Cell Commun Signal. 2007 Dec;1(3-4):159-64. doi: 10.1007/s12079-008-0022-6. Epub 2008 Jun 21.


The CCN family of genes currently comprises six secreted proteins (designated CCN1-6 after Cyr61/CCN1; ctgf/CCN2; Nov/CCN3; WISP1/CCN4; WISP2/CCN5, WISP3/CCN6) with a similar mosaic primary structure. It is now well accepted that CCN proteins are not growth factors but matricellular proteins that modify signaling of other molecules, in particular those associated with the extracellular matrix. CCN proteins are involved in mitosis, adhesion, apoptosis, extracellular matrix production, growth arrest and migration of multiple cell types. Since their first identification as matricellular factors, the CCN proteins now figure prominently in a variety of major diseases and are now considered valid candidates for therapeutic targeting. Dissection of the molecular mechanisms governing the biological properties of these proteins is being actively pursued by an expanding network of scientists around the globe who will meet this year at the 5th International Workshop on the CCN family of Genes, organized by the International CCN Society ( ), home for an international cadre of collaborators working in the CCN field.