Pregnancy-specific glycoprotein 1 induces endothelial tubulogenesis through interaction with cell surface proteoglycans

Lisboa FA, Warren J, Sulkowski G, Aparicio M, David G, Zudaire E, Dveksler GS
Source: J Biol Chem
Publication Date: (2011)
Issue: 286(9): 7577-86
Research Area:
Basic Research
Cells used in publication:
T cell, human stim.
Species: human
Tissue Origin: blood
Culture Media:


Pregnancy-specific ß1 glycoproteins (PSGs) are the most abundant fetal proteins in the maternal bloodstream in late pregnancy. They are secreted by the syncytiotrophoblast and are detected around day 14 postfertilization. There are 11 human PSG genes, which encode a family of proteins exhibiting significant conservation at the amino acid level. We and others have proposed that PSGs have an immune modulatory function. In addition, we recently postulated that they are proangiogenic due to their ability to induce the secretion of VEGF-A and the formation of tubes by endothelial cells. The cellular receptor(s) for human PSGs remain unknown. Therefore, we conducted these studies to identify the receptor for PSG1, the highest expressed member of the family. We show that removal of cell surface glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) by enzymatic or chemical treatment of cells or competition with heparin completely inhibited binding of PSG1. In addition, PSG1 did not bind to cells lacking heparan or chondroitin sulfate on their surface, and binding was restored upon transfection with all four syndecans and glypican-1. Importantly, the presence of GAGs on the surface of endothelial cells was required for the ability of PSG1 to induce tube formation. This finding indicates that the PSG1-GAG interaction mediates at least some of the PSG1 proposed functions.