Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.459, No.2, 246-251, 2015
Proteolysis of decellularized extracellular matrices results in loss of fibronectin and cell binding activity
Excessive inflammation in the chronic wound bed is believed to result in increased fibronectin (FN) proteolysis and poor tissue repair. However, FN fragments can prime the immune response and result in higher protease levels. The reciprocity between FN proteolysis and inflammation makes it challenging to determine the specific contribution of FN proteolysis in the extracellular matrix (ECM) on tissue responses. We studied the impact of proteolysis of decellularized extracellular matrices (dECMs) obtained from NIH 3T3 mouse fibroblasts on FN level and activity. The dECMs were treated with a chymotrypsin and proteolysis was stopped at different time points. The protease solution was obtained, the remaining dECM was scrapped and examined by immunoblotting and Bicinchoninic Acid assays. Fibronectin was 9.4 +/- 1.8% of the total protein content in the dECM but was more susceptible to proteolysis. After 15 min of protease treatment there was a 67.6% and 11.1% decrease in FN and total protein, respectively, in the dECMs. Fibronectin fragments were present both in the proteolysis solution and in the dECM. Cell adhesion, spreading and actin extensions on dECMs decreased with increasing proteolysis time. Interestingly, the solutions obtained after proteolysis of the dECMs supported cell adhesion and spreading in a time dependent manner, thus demonstrating the presence of FN cell binding activity in the protease solution of dECMs. This study demonstrates the susceptibility of FN in the ECM to proteolysis and the resulting loss of cell adhesion due to the decrease of FN activity and places weight on bioengineering strategies to stabilize FN against proteolysis. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.