Aortic endothelial cells adhere to the core protein of murine perlecan, a heparan sulfate proteoglycan present in endothelial basement membrane. We found that cell adhesion was partially inhibited by beta 1 integrin-specific mAb and almost completely blocked by a mixture of beta 1 and alpha v beta 3 antibodies. Furthermore, adhesion was partially inhibited by a synthetic peptide containing the perlecan domain III sequence LPASFRGDKVTSY (c-RGD) as well as by GRGDSP, but not by GRGESP. Both antibodies contributed to the inhibition of cell adhesion to immobilized c-RGD whereas only beta 1-specific antibody blocked residual cell adhesion to proteoglycan core in the presence of maximally inhibiting concentrations of soluble RGD peptide. A fraction of endothelial surface-labeled detergent lysate bound to a core affinity column and 147-, 116-, and 85-kD proteins were eluted with NaCl and EDTA. Polyclonal anti-beta 1 and anti-beta 3 integrin antibodies immunoprecipitated 116/147 and 85/147 kD surface-labeled complexes, respectively. Cell adhesion to perlecan was low compared to perlecan core, and cell adhesion to core, but not to immobilized c-RGD, was selectively inhibited by soluble heparin and heparan sulfates. This inhibition by heparin was also observed with laminin and fibronectin and, in the case of perlecan, was found to be independent of heparin binding to substrate. These data support the hypothesis that endothelial cells interact with the core protein of perlecan through beta 1 and beta 3 integrins, that this binding is partially RGD-independent, and that this interaction is selectively sensitive to a cell-mediated effect of heparin/heparan sulfates which may act as regulatory ligands.

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