Matricellular Proteins

Matricellular proteins are a group of non-structural extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins that do not contribute directly to the mechanical properties of the ECM but play critical roles in modulating cell behavior and function. These proteins interact with various cell surface receptors, growth factors, cytokines, and other ECM components to regulate cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, differentiation, and survival, as well as tissue repair, remodeling, and inflammation.

Some of the primary matricellular proteins include:

  1. Thrombospondins: Thrombospondins are a family of glycoproteins that regulate cell adhesion, migration, and angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels). They play essential roles in tissue repair, wound healing, and the regulation of inflammation.
  2. Tenascins: Tenascins are a family of glycoproteins that modulate cell adhesion, migration, and differentiation. They are involved in tissue repair, remodeling, and embryonic development. Tenascin-C, for example, is highly expressed during wound healing and tissue repair, as well as in certain pathological conditions, such as fibrosis and cancer.
  3. Osteopontin: Osteopontin is a phosphorylated glycoprotein that plays a role in cell adhesion, migration, and survival. It is involved in various physiological processes, such as bone remodeling, wound healing, and immune response. Osteopontin has also been implicated in the progression of various diseases, including cancer, atherosclerosis, and kidney disease.
  4. Periostin: Periostin is a matricellular protein that contributes to cell adhesion, migration, and survival, particularly in the context of tissue repair and remodeling. It plays a role in the development and maintenance of various connective tissues, such as bone, periodontal ligament, and heart valves.
  5. CCN family proteins: The CCN family of matricellular proteins consists of six members (CCN1-6) that regulate various cellular processes, including adhesion, migration, proliferation, and differentiation. They are involved in tissue repair, angiogenesis, and inflammation and have been implicated in various pathological conditions, such as fibrosis, arthritis, and cancer.

Matricellular proteins play essential roles in maintaining tissue homeostasis and responding to injury or stress. Dysregulation of matricellular proteins can contribute to various diseases and disorders, such as cancer, fibrosis, and inflammation. Understanding the role and regulation of these proteins is crucial for developing therapeutic strategies targeting tissue repair, regeneration, and disease progression.