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Volume 6, Pages 35-52
Research Article

A Novel 110-kDa Receptor Protein is Involved in Endocytic Uptake of Decorin by Human Skin Fibroblasts

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Münster University Hospital, Münster, Germany
2Department of Physiological Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry, Münster University Hospital, Münster, Germany

Received 26 July 2005; Revised 30 November 2005; Accepted 13 December 2005

Academic Editor: George Yip

Copyright © 2006 David Denis Sofeu Feugaing et al.


The small leucine-rich proteoglycan (SLRP) decorin is efficiently internalized by a variety of cultured cells. A 51-kDa protein has previously been described as a receptor mediating endocytosis of decorin and of the structurally related SLRP biglycan. Recent findings suggest that endocytosis of SLRPs may also be mediated by additional receptors. The class-A scavenger receptor, the endocytic mannose receptor, the epidermal growth factor receptor, and insulin-like growth factor-I receptor have emerged as candidates. We used a combined approach of immunoprecipitation and photoactivated cross-linking to identify endocytosis receptors for decorin in human skin fibroblasts. Decorin was purified by HPLC-DEAE-ion exchange chromatography from the secretions of human skin fibroblasts under nondenaturing conditions. Confocal immunofluorescence microscopy revealed that both biotinylated decorin and decorin conjugated to the heterobifunctional cross-linker sulfosuccinimidyl 2-(p-azidosalicylamido)ethyl-1-3'-dithiopropionate (SASD) were endocytosed with equal efficiency. SASD-conjugated decorin was added to [35S]-methionine-labeled fibroblasts and cross-linked intracellularly to receptor molecules by photoactivation on endocytic uptake. Cross-linked decorin-receptor complexes were purified from the extracts of trypsin-treated fibroblasts by anion exchange chromatography and immunoprecipitation with a decorin-specific antiserum. Analysis by 2D electrophoresis and autoradiography revealed that decorin was specifically cross-linked to a protein of 110 kDa, which exhibited an isoelectric point of 5.5. In a second approach, unlabeled fibroblasts were subjected to decorin endocytosis and photoactivated cross-linking followed by Western blotting of DEAE-purified cell extracts. A shift of biotinylated decorin immunoreactivity from 165 kDa (decorin-receptor complex) to 54 kDa (SASD-conjugated biotinylated decorin) was noted on reductive cleavage of the cross-linker, representing a difference in molecular weight of approximately 110 kDa. The identification of a 110-kDa protein as a novel endocytosis receptor for decorin provides further support for the emerging concept of a redundancy of receptor molecules in the endocytosis of SLRP.