Human plasma fibronectin bound to confluent cell layers of cultured human-skin fibroblasts in two distinct pools. Initial binding of fibronectin occurred in a deoxycholate-soluble pool (Pool I). Binding in Pool I was reversible and reached a steady state after 3 h. After longer periods of incubation, fibronectin became bound in a deoxycholate-insoluble pool (Pool II). Binding in Pool II was irreversible and proceeded at a linear rate for 30 h. After 30 h of incubation, a significant proportion of fibronectin bound in Pool II was present as disulfide-bonded multimers. HT1080 cells, a human sarcoma cell line, did not bind fibronectin in either pool. Also, isolated cell matrices prepared by deoxycholate extraction did not bind fibronection. Binding of fibronectin in Pool I of normal fibroblasts occurred via specific, saturable receptors. There were 128,000 binding sites per cell, and KDiss was 3.6 X 10(-8) M. Fluorescence microscopic localization of fibronectin bound in Pool I and Pool II was performed using fluorescein-conjugated fibronectin. Fluorescent staining in Pool I was present in a punctate pattern and in short, fine fibrils. Pool II fluorescence was exclusively in coarse, dense fibrils. These data indicate that plasma fibronectin may become incorporated into the tissue extracellular matrix via specific cell-surface receptors.

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