Association of the small latent transforming growth factor-beta with an eight cysteine repeat of its binding protein LTBP-1

EMBO J. 1996 Jan 15;15(2):245-53.


Transforming growth factor-betas (TGF-betas) are produced by most cells in large latent complexes of TGF-beta and its propeptide (LAP) associated with a binding protein. The latent TGF-beta binding proteins (LTBPs-1, -2 and -3) mediate the secretion and, subsequently, the association of latent TGF-beta complexes with the extracellular matrix (ECM). The association of beta1-LAP with LTBP-1 was characterized at the molecular level with an expression system in mammalian cells, where TGF-beta1 and various fragments of LTBP-1 were co-expressed and secreted with the aid of a signal peptide synthesized to the LTBP-1 constructs. Immunoblotting of the fusion protein complexes indicated that the third 8-Cys repeat of LTBP-1 bound covalently to the LAP region of TGF-beta1. The cysteine required for the association between LTBP-1 and beta1-LAP was mapped to Cys33 of beta1-LAP. The N-terminal region of LTBP-1 consisting of the first 400 amino acids was found to associate covalently with the ECM. The data indicate that an 8-Cys repeat of LTBP is capable of covalent and specific protein-protein interactions. These interactions are mediated by exchanging cysteine disulfide bonds between the core 8-Cys repeat and an optionally associated protein during the secretion. This is, to our knowledge, the first demonstration of an extracellular protein module that is able to exchange cysteine disulfide bonds with heterologous ligand proteins.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • CHO Cells
  • Carrier Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Cricetinae
  • Cysteine*
  • Disulfides
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / chemistry
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins*
  • Kidney
  • Latent TGF-beta Binding Proteins
  • Models, Structural
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Transfection
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / biosynthesis
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / isolation & purification
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Disulfides
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • LTBP1 protein, human
  • Latent TGF-beta Binding Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Cysteine