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Journal of Toxicology
Volume 2012, Article ID 325250, 8 pages
Research Article

A Lipocalin-Derived Peptide Modulating Fibroblasts and Extracellular Matrix Proteins

1Laboratory of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Butantan Institute, Avenida Vital Brasil 1500, 05503-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Center for Applied Toxinology, Butantan Institute, 05503-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
3Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo, 01246-903 São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 3 January 2012; Revised 23 February 2012; Accepted 15 April 2012

Academic Editor: Yonghua Ji

Copyright © 2012 Linda Christian Carrijo-Carvalho et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Lipocalin family members have been implicated in development, regeneration, and pathological processes, but their roles are unclear. Interestingly, these proteins are found abundant in the venom of the Lonomia obliqua caterpillar. Lipocalins are β-barrel proteins, which have three conserved motifs in their amino acid sequence. One of these motifs was shown to be a sequence signature involved in cell modulation. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of a synthetic peptide comprising the lipocalin sequence motif in fibroblasts. This peptide suppressed caspase 3 activity and upregulated Bcl-2 and Ki-67, but did not interfere with GPCR calcium mobilization. Fibroblast responses also involved increased expression of proinflammatory mediators. Increase of extracellular matrix proteins, such as collagen, fibronectin, and tenascin, was observed. Increase in collagen content was also observed in vivo. Results indicate that modulation effects displayed by lipocalins through this sequence motif involve cell survival, extracellular matrix remodeling, and cytokine signaling. Such effects can be related to the lipocalin roles in disease, development, and tissue repair.