Localization of the major heparin-binding site in fibronectin

Fern J.Bober Barkalow, Jean E. Schwarzbauer

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145 Scopus citations


We have identified the major site required for the interaction of fibronectin (FN) with heparin. Affinity chromatography was used to test the binding ability of a library of truncated, monomeric forms of fibronectin (deminectins) containing deletions or two point mutations in the heparin-binding domain. This domain consists of type III repeats 12, 13, and 14. Deletions of individual repeats showed that both III13 and III14 are required for complete binding. Small deletions within these repeats localized a major site of heparin interaction to the amino-terminal half of III13. Site-directed mutagenesis of adjacent arginines within this sequence to uncharged residues reduced heparin binding by 98%, identifying these positively charged amino acids as essential for the interaction. A significant role for the flanking alternatively spliced regions and for repeat III12 was not found. We conclude that, while both repeats III13 and III14 participate in heparin binding, there is a major site of interaction in repeat III13 that accounts for nearly all of the activity. The significance of multiple heparin-binding sites within this domain is discussed and a model is proposed to account for how these sites may function in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7812-7818
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Apr 25 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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