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Specific processing of tenascin-C by the metalloprotease meprinbeta neutralizes its inhibition of cell spreading.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Ambort Daniel, Brellier Florence, Becker-Pauly Christoph, Stöcker Walter, Andrejevic-Blant Snezana, Chiquet Matthias, Sterchi Erwin,
Project Meprins, membrane-bound and secreted Astacinmetalloproteinases: Function in intestinal Epithelium
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Matrix Biology
Volume (Issue) 29(1)
Page(s) 31 - 42
Title of proceedings Matrix Biology


The metalloprotease meprin has been implicated in tissue remodelling due to its capability to degrade extracellular matrix components. Here, we investigated the susceptibility of tenascin-C to cleavage by meprinbeta and the functional properties of its proteolytic fragments. A set of monoclonal antibodies against chicken and human tenascin-C allowed the mapping of proteolytic fragments generated by meprinbeta. In chicken tenascin-C, meprinbeta processed all three major splicing variants by removal of 10kDa N-terminal and 38kDa C-terminal peptides, leaving a large central part of subunits intact. A similar cleavage pattern was found for large human tenascin-C variant where two N-terminal peptides (10 or 15kDa) and two C-terminal fragments (40 and 55kDa) were removed from the intact subunit. N-terminal sequencing revealed the exact amino acid positions of cleavage sites. In both chicken and human tenascin-C N-terminal cleavages occurred just before and/or after the heptad repeats involved in subunit oligomerization. In the human protein, an additional cleavage site was identified in the alternative fibronectin type III repeat D. Whereas all these sites are known to be attacked by several other proteases, a unique cleavage by meprinbeta was located to the 7th constant fibronectin type III repeat in both chicken and human tenascin-C, thereby removing the C-terminal domain involved in its anti-adhesive activity. In cell adhesion assays meprinbeta-digested human tenascin-C was not able to interfere with fibronectin-mediated cell spreading, confirming cleavage in the anti-adhesive domain. Whereas the expression of meprinbeta and tenascin-C does not overlap in normal colon tissue, inflamed lesions of the mucosa from patients with Crohn's disease exhibited many meprinbeta-positive leukocytes in regions where tenascin-C was strongly induced. Our data indicate that, at least under pathological conditions, meprinbeta might attack specific functional sites in tenascin-C that are important for its oligomerization and anti-adhesive activity.