Fibronectin, a fibroblast surface protein, was purified from human and chicken plasma and extracts of cultured chicken fibroblasts with affinity chromatography on gelatin coupled to Sepharose particles. A fibronectin-like protein was also isolated from the plasma of Torpedo fish. The collagen binding properties of fibronectin were studied with several genetically distinct collagens. Heat denatured types I, II, and III collagens were equal in their binding capacity and more active than the native collagens or A and B chains. Native type III collagen was more active than the other native collagens. Human and chicken fibronectins showed approximately the same pattern of specificity. Identical specificities were shown by the plasma and fibroblast forms of chicken fibronectin. Two cyanogen bromide peptides of the collagen alpha1 (II) chain, CB8 and CB12, derived from different parts of the chain, were active in fibronectin binding. A polymer of the tripeptide pro-gly-pro, and polyproline were inactive. Fibronectin also binds to fibrinogen and fibrin. Comparison of this binding to collagen binding showed that fibrinogen inhibited binding of fibronectin to collagen, but was less active than native collagen. Two other fibrous proteins, tropoelastin and keratin, did not bind fibronectin. The binding of fibronectin to fibrinogen was inhibited by collagen and incorporation of fibronectin into blood clot in the cold was inhibited by gelatin. These results suggest that the binding of fibronectin to collagen and fibrinogen depends on the same binding site in the fibronectin molecule. It is proposed that cell surface fibronectin mediates attachment of cells to the collagenous extracellular matrix and to a temporary fibrin matrix in a wound.

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