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The cellular microenvironment, characterized by an extracellular matrix (ECM), played an essential role in the transition from unicellularity to multicellularity in animals (metazoans), and in the subsequent evolution of diverse animal tissues and organs. A major ECM component are members of the collagen superfamily -comprising 28 types in vertebrates - that exist in diverse supramolecular assemblies ranging from networks to fibrils. Each assembly is characterized by a hallmark feature, a protein structure called a triple helix. A current gap in knowledge is understanding the mechanisms of how the triple helix encodes and utilizes information in building scaffolds on the outside of cells. Type IV collagen, recently revealed as the evolutionarily most ancient member of the collagen superfamily, serves as an archetype for a fresh view of fundamental structural features of a triple helix that underlie the diversity of biological activities of collagens. In this Opinion, we argue that the triple helix is a protein structure of fundamental importance in building the extracellular matrix, which enabled animal multicellularity and tissue evolution.
© 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW - While thinning of the cortices or trabeculae weakens bone, age-related changes in matrix composition also lower fracture resistance. This review summarizes how the organic matrix, mineral phase, and water compartments influence the mechanical behavior of bone, thereby identifying characteristics important to fracture risk.
RECENT FINDINGS - In the synthesis of the organic matrix, tropocollagen experiences various post-translational modifications that facilitate a highly organized fibril of collagen I with a preferred orientation giving bone extensibility and several toughening mechanisms. Being a ceramic, mineral is brittle but increases the strength of bone as its content within the organic matrix increases. With time, hydroxyapatite-like crystals experience carbonate substitutions, the consequence of which remains to be understood. Water participates in hydrogen bonding with organic matrix and in electrostatic attractions with mineral phase, thereby providing stability to collagen-mineral interface and ductility to bone. Clinical tools sensitive to age- and disease-related changes in matrix composition that the affect mechanical behavior of bone could potentially improve fracture risk assessment.
Lysyl oxidase-like-2 (LOXL2) is an enzyme secreted into the extracellular matrix that crosslinks collagens by mediating oxidative deamination of lysine residues. Our previous work demonstrated that this enzyme crosslinks the 7S domain, a structural domain that stabilizes collagen IV scaffolds in the basement membrane. Despite its relevant role in extracellular matrix biosynthesis, little is known about the structural requirements of LOXL2 that enable collagen IV crosslinking. In this study, we demonstrate that LOXL2 is processed extracellularly by serine proteases, generating a 65-kDa form lacking the first two scavenger receptor cysteine-rich domains. Site-specific mutagenesis to prevent proteolytic processing generated a full-length enzyme that is active toward a soluble substrate, but fails to crosslink insoluble collagen IV within the extracellular matrix. In contrast, the processed form of LOXL2 binds to collagen IV and crosslinks the 7S domain. Together, our data demonstrate that proteolytic processing is an important event that allows LOXL2-mediated crosslinking of basement membrane collagen IV.
© 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Collagen IV scaffolds assemble through an intricate pathway that begins intracellularly and is completed extracellularly. Multiple intracellular enzymes act in concert to assemble collagen IV protomers, the building blocks of collagen IV scaffolds. After being secreted from cells, protomers are activated to initiate oligomerization, forming insoluble networks that are structurally reinforced with covalent crosslinks. Within these networks, embedded binding sites along the length of the protomer lead to the "decoration" of collagen IV triple helix with numerous functional molecules. We refer to these networks as "smart" scaffolds, which as a component of the basement membrane enable the development and function of multicellular tissues in all animal phyla. In this review, we present key molecular mechanisms that drive the assembly of collagen IV smart scaffolds.
© 2017 The Protein Society.
Susceptibility and protection against human autoimmune diseases, including type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Goodpasture disease, is associated with particular human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles. However, the mechanisms underpinning such HLA-mediated effects on self-tolerance remain unclear. Here we investigate the molecular mechanism of Goodpasture disease, an HLA-linked autoimmune renal disorder characterized by an immunodominant CD4 T-cell self-epitope derived from the α3 chain of type IV collagen (α3). While HLA-DR15 confers a markedly increased disease risk, the protective HLA-DR1 allele is dominantly protective in trans with HLA-DR15 (ref. 2). We show that autoreactive α3-specific T cells expand in patients with Goodpasture disease and, in α3-immunized HLA-DR15 transgenic mice, α3-specific T cells infiltrate the kidney and mice develop Goodpasture disease. HLA-DR15 and HLA-DR1 exhibit distinct peptide repertoires and binding preferences and present the α3 epitope in different binding registers. HLA-DR15-α3 tetramer T cells in HLA-DR15 transgenic mice exhibit a conventional T-cell phenotype (T) that secretes pro-inflammatory cytokines. In contrast, HLA-DR1-α3 tetramer T cells in HLA-DR1 and HLA-DR15/DR1 transgenic mice are predominantly CD4Foxp3 regulatory T cells (T cells) expressing tolerogenic cytokines. HLA-DR1-induced T cells confer resistance to disease in HLA-DR15/DR1 transgenic mice. HLA-DR15 and HLA-DR1 healthy human donors display altered α3-specific T-cell antigen receptor usage, HLA-DR15-α3 tetramer Foxp3 T and HLA-DR1-α3 tetramer Foxp3CD25CD127 T dominant phenotypes. Moreover, patients with Goodpasture disease display a clonally expanded α3-specific CD4 T-cell repertoire. Accordingly, we provide a mechanistic basis for the dominantly protective effect of HLA in autoimmune disease, whereby HLA polymorphism shapes the relative abundance of self-epitope specific T cells that leads to protection or causation of autoimmunity.
Basement membranes (BMs), a specialized form of extracellular matrix, underlie nearly all cell layers and provide structural support for tissues and interact with cell surface receptors to determine cell behavior. Both macromolecular composition and stiffness of the BM influence cell-BM interactions. Collagen IV is a major constituent of the BM that forms an extensively cross-linked oligomeric network. Its deficiency leads to BM mechanical instability, as observed with glomerular BM in Alport syndrome. These findings have led to the hypothesis that collagen IV and its cross-links determine BM stiffness. A sulfilimine bond (S = N) between a methionine sulfur and a lysine nitrogen cross-links collagen IV and is formed by the matrix enzyme peroxidasin. In peroxidasin knockout mice with reduced collagen IV sulfilimine cross-links, we find a reduction in renal tubular BM stiffness. Thus this work provides the first direct experimental evidence that collagen IV sulfilimine cross-links contribute to BM mechanical properties and provides a foundation for future work on the relationship of BM mechanics to cell function in renal disease.
Copyright © 2017 the American Physiological Society.
The role of the cellular microenvironment in enabling metazoan tissue genesis remains obscure. Ctenophora has recently emerged as one of the earliest-branching extant animal phyla, providing a unique opportunity to explore the evolutionary role of the cellular microenvironment in tissue genesis. Here, we characterized the extracellular matrix (ECM), with a focus on collagen IV and its variant, spongin short-chain collagens, of non-bilaterian animal phyla. We identified basement membrane (BM) and collagen IV in Ctenophora, and show that the structural and genomic features of collagen IV are homologous to those of non-bilaterian animal phyla and Bilateria. Yet, ctenophore features are more diverse and distinct, expressing up to twenty genes compared to six in vertebrates. Moreover, collagen IV is absent in unicellular sister-groups. Collectively, we conclude that collagen IV and its variant, spongin, are primordial components of the extracellular microenvironment, and as a component of BM, collagen IV enabled the assembly of a fundamental architectural unit for multicellular tissue genesis.
Goodpasture's disease is closely associated with HLA, particularly DRB1*1501. Other susceptible or protective HLA alleles are not clearly elucidated. The presentation models of epitopes by susceptible HLA alleles are also unclear. We genotyped 140 Chinese patients and 599 controls for four-digit HLA II genes, and extracted the encoding sequences from the IMGT/HLA database. T-cell epitopes of α3(IV)NC1 were predicted and the structures of DR molecule-peptide-T-cell receptor were constructed. We confirmed DRB1*1501 (OR = 4·6, P = 5·7 × 10 ) to be a risk allele for Goodpasture's disease. Arginine at position 13 (ARG13) (OR = 4·0, P = 1·0 × 10 ) and proline at position 11 (PRO11) (OR = 4·0, P = 2·0 × 10 ) on DRβ1, encoded by DRB1*1501, were associated with disease susceptibility. α (HGWISLWKGFSFIMF) was predicted as a T-cell epitope presented by DRB1*1501. Isoleucine , tryptophan , glycine , phenylalanine and phenylalanine , were presented in peptide-binding pockets 1, 4, 6, 7 and 9 of DR2b, respectively. ARG13 in pocket 4 interacts with tryptophan and forms a hydrogen bond. In conclusion, we propose a mechanism for DRB1*1501 susceptibility for Goodpasture's disease through encoding ARG13 and PRO11 on MHC-DRβ1 chain and presenting T-cell epitope, α , with five critical residues.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Basement membranes are delicate, nanoscale and pliable sheets of extracellular matrices that often act as linings or partitions in organisms. Previously considered as passive scaffolds segregating polarized cells, such as epithelial or endothelial cells, from the underlying mesenchyme, basement membranes have now reached the center stage of biology. They play a multitude of roles from blood filtration to muscle homeostasis, from storing growth factors and cytokines to controlling angiogenesis and tumor growth, from maintaining skin integrity and neuromuscular structure to affecting adipogenesis and fibrosis. Here, we will address developmental, structural and biochemical aspects of basement membranes and discuss some of the pathogenetic mechanisms causing diseases linked to abnormal basement membranes.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Discoidin domain receptor 1 (DDR1) is a receptor tyrosine kinase that binds to and is activated by collagens. DDR1 expression increases following kidney injury and accumulating evidence suggests that it contributes to the progression of injury. To this end, deletion of DDR1 is beneficial in ameliorating kidney injury induced by angiotensin infusion, unilateral ureteral obstruction, or nephrotoxic nephritis. Most of the beneficial effects observed in the DDR1-null mice are attributed to reduced inflammatory cell infiltration to the site of injury, suggesting that DDR1 plays a pro-inflammatory effect. The goal of this study was to determine whether, in addition to its pro-inflammatory effect, DDR1 plays a deleterious effect in kidney injury by directly regulating extracellular matrix production. We show that DDR1-null mice have reduced deposition of glomerular collagens I and IV as well as decreased proteinuria following the partial renal ablation model of kidney injury. Using mesangial cells isolated from DDR1-null mice, we show that these cells produce significantly less collagen compared to DDR1-null cells reconstituted with wild type DDR1. Moreover, mutagenesis analysis revealed that mutations in the collagen binding site or in the kinase domain significantly reduce DDR1-mediated collagen production. Finally, we provide evidence that blocking DDR1 kinase activity with an ATP-competitive small molecule inhibitor reduces collagen production. In conclusion, our studies indicate that the kinase activity of DDR1 plays a key role in DDR1-induced collagen synthesis and suggest that blocking collagen-mediated DDR1 activation may be beneficial in fibrotic diseases.
Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier B.V.