Disruption of fibronectin matrix affects type IV collagen, fibrillin and laminin deposition into extracellular matrix of human trabecular meshwork (HTM) cells
Fibronectin fibrils are a major component of the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the trabecular meshwork (TM). They are a key mediator of the formation of the ECM which controls aqueous humor outflow and contributes to the pathogenesis of glaucoma. The purpose of this work was to determine if a fibronectin-binding peptide called FUD, derived from the Streptococcus pyogenes Functional Upstream Domain of the F1 adhesin protein, could be used to control fibronectin fibrillogenesis and hence ECM formation under conditions where its expression was induced by treatment with the glucocorticoid dexamethasone. FUD was very effective at preventing fibronectin fibrillogenesis in the presence or absence of steroid treatment as well as the removal of existing fibronectin fibrils. Disruption of fibronectin fibrillogenesis by FUD also disrupted the incorporation of type IV collagen, laminin and fibrillin into the ECM. The effect of FUD on these other protein matrices, however, was found to be dependent upon the maturity of the ECM when FUD was added. FUD effectively disrupted the incorporation of these other proteins into matrices when added to newly confluent cells that were forming a nascent ECM. In contrast, FUD had no effect on these other protein matrices if the cell cultures already possessed a pre-formed, mature ECM. Our studies indicate that FUD can be used to control fibronectin fibrillogenesis and that these fibrils play a role in regulating the assembly of other ECM protein into matrices involving type IV collagen, laminin, and fibrillin within the TM. This suggests that under in vivo conditions, FUD would selectively disrupt fibronectin fibrils and de novo assembly of other proteins into the ECM. Finally, our studies suggest that targeting fibronectin fibril assembly may be a viable treatment for POAG as well as other glaucomas involving excessive or abnormal matrix deposition of the ECM.