It has been suggested that fibronectin plays a role in clearing particles from the circulation by promoting binding to phagocytes of the reticuloendothelial system. By use of a well-defined system to investigate the possible opsonic role of fibronectin, we have studied the uptake of gelatin-coated latex particles by a murine macrophage cell line (P388D1). Fibronectin promotes binding of gelatin-coated beads to these cells in both suspension and monolayer cultures. In both cases there is a requirement for heparin as a cofactor. Other glycosaminoglycans (chondroitin sulfates A and C, dermatan sulfate, and keratan sulfate) were inactive, whereas heparan sulfate was somewhat active. Proof that beads were actually endocytosed was obtained by electron microscopy, which showed beads internalized in membrane-bounded vesicles, and by immunofluorescence analyses, using antibodies to fibronectin to stain external beads. Two rapid assays for the opsonic activity of fibronectin were developed based on differential centrifugation of cell-associated beads and on the immunofluorescence procedure. Binding and endocytosis were time- and temperature-dependent and varied with the amount of gelatin on the beads and with the concentrations of fibronectin and heparin added, and could be inhibited by F(ab')2 antifibronectin. These studies provide a sound basis for a detailed analysis of the interaction of fibronectin with the cell surface and of its involvement in endocytosis.

This content is only available as a PDF.