Previous studies have suggested that the assembly of fibronectin into the extracellular matrix of cultured fibroblasts is mediated by specific matrix assembly receptors that recognize a binding site in the amino terminus of the fibronectin molecule (McKeown-Longo, P.J., and D.F. Mosher, 1985, J. Cell Biol., 100:364-374). In the presence of dexamethasone, human fibrosarcoma cells (HT-1080) acquired the ability to specifically bind exogenous plasma fibronectin and incorporate it into a detergent-insoluble extracellular matrix. Dexamethasone-induced fibronectin binding to HT-1080 cells was time dependent, dose dependent, and inhibited by cycloheximide. Saturation binding curves indicated that dexamethasone induced the appearance of 7.7 X 10(4) matrix assembly receptors per cell. The induced receptors exhibited a dissociation constant (KD) for soluble fibronectin of 5.0 X 10(-8) M. In parallel experiments, normal fibroblasts exhibited 4.1 X 10(5) receptors (KD = 5.3 X 10(-8) M) per cell. In the presence of cycloheximide, the induced fibronectin-binding activity on HT-1080 cells returned to uninduced levels within 12 h. In contrast, fibronectin-binding activity on normal fibroblasts was stable in the presence of cycloheximide for up to 54 h. The first-order rate constant (Kt = 2.07 X 10(-4) min-1) for the transfer of receptor-bound fibronectin to extracellular matrix was four- to fivefold less than that for normal fibroblasts (Kt = 1.32 X 10(-3) min-1). Lactoperoxidase-catalyzed iodination of HT-1080 monolayers indicated that a 48,000-mol-wt cell surface protein was enhanced with dexamethasone. The results from these experiments suggest that dexamethasone induces functional matrix assembly receptors on the surface of HT-1080 cells; however, the rate of incorporation of fibronectin into the matrix is much slower than that of normal fibroblasts.

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