Basement membranes are complex extracellular matrices contributing to the regulation of growth, migration and differentiation of many cell types. However, little is known about the mechanisms regulating the deposition and assembly of basement membrane from its constituents. We have investigated the role of extracellular matrix molecules in the control of basement membrane matrix assembly by cultured endodermal (PFHR-9) cells. In the presence of fibronectin-depleted serum, substrata of fibronectin or laminin induced an increase in deposition of laminin, type IV collagen and proteoglycans by PFHR-9 cells, in comparison to cells adherent to type I collagen-coated, vitronectin-coated or uncoated substrata. Direct effects of fibronectin or laminin on the degree of cell spreading or rate of proliferation were not responsible for enhanced matrix deposition. The effect did not result from a redirection of basement membrane components to the matrix, since there was no decrease in matrix constituents released to the culture supernatants. Furthermore, the synthesis and release of other molecules that are not basement membrane constituents was unaltered in response to different extracellular matrix substrata. Experiments with fibronectin fragments showed that a 105 x 10(3) Mr 'cell'-binding domain (containing the cell attachment sequence Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser) was an important contributor to enhanced matrix deposition, while the N-terminal 29 x 10(3) Mr heparin-binding domain also contributed to the effect, particularly with respect to heparan sulfate proteoglycan deposition. It seems that fibronectin has a dual role of action in promoting basement membrane matrix assembly, through direct cell surface interactions, and through the binding of fibronectin to other matrix components that may nucleate or stabilize the matrix assembly.
Keywords: Amino Acid Sequence; Basement Membrane; Binding, Competitive; Cell Division; Endoderm; Fibronectins; Fluorescent Antibody Technique; Laminin; Molecular Sequence Data; Peptides; Proteoglycans; Teratoma; Tumor Cells, Cultured