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CD147 mediates the CD44s-dependent differentiation of myofibroblasts driven by transforming growth factor-β1

Woods, Emma L., Grigorieva, Irina V., Midgley, Adam C., Brown, Charlotte V.M., Lu, Yueh-an, Phillips, Aled O. ORCID:, Bowen, Timothy ORCID:, Meran, Soma ORCID: and Steadman, Robert ORCID: 2021. CD147 mediates the CD44s-dependent differentiation of myofibroblasts driven by transforming growth factor-β1. Journal of Biological Chemistry 297 (3) , 100987. 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.100987

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Progressive fibrosis leads to loss of organ function and affects many organs as a result of excessive extracellular matrix production. The ubiquitous matrix polysaccharide hyaluronan (HA) is central to this through association with its primary receptor, CD44, which exists as standard CD44 (CD44s) or multiple splice variants. Mediators such as profibrotic transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and proinflammatory interleukin (IL)-1β are widely associated with fibrotic progression. TGF-β1 induces myofibroblast differentiation, while IL-1β induces a proinflammatory fibroblast phenotype that promotes fibroblast binding to monocyte/macrophages. CD44 expression is essential for both responses. Potential CD44 splice variants involved, however, are unidentified. The TGF-β1-activated CD44/epidermal growth factor receptor complex induces differentiation of metastatic cells through interactions with the matrix metalloproteinase inducer, CD147. This study aimed to determine the CD44 variants involved in TGF-β1- and IL-1β-mediated responses and to investigate the potential profibrotic role of CD147. Using immunocytochemistry and quantitative PCR, standard CD44s were shown to be essential for both TGF-β1-induced fibroblast/myofibroblast differentiation and IL-1β-induced monocyte binding. Co-immunoprecipitation identified that CD147 associated with CD44s. Using CD147-siRNA and confocal microscopy, we also determined that incorporation of the myofibroblast marker, αSMA, into F-actin stress fibers was prevented in the absence of CD147 and myofibroblast-dependent collagen gel contraction was inhibited. CD147 did not associate with HA, but removal of HA prevented the association of CD44s with CD147 at points of cell–cell contact. Taken together, our data suggest that CD44s/CD147 colocalization is essential in regulating the mechanical tension required for the αSMA incorporation into F-actin stress fibers that regulates myofibroblast phenotype.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Publisher: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
ISSN: 0021-9258
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 September 2021
Date of Acceptance: 16 June 2021
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2024 12:39

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