Primary mesenchymal cells isolated from SPARC-null mice exhibit altered morphology and rates of proliferation

Bradshaw, A.D.; Francki, A.; Motamed, K.; Howe, C.; Sage, E.H.

Molecular Biology of the Cell 10(5): 1569-1579


ISSN/ISBN: 1059-1524
PMID: 10233163
DOI: 10.1091/mbc.10.5.1569
Accession: 011198147

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SPARC (secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine)/BM 40/osteonectin is a matricellular protein shown to function as a counteradhesive factor that induces cell rounding and as an inhibitor of cell proliferation. These activities have been defined in cell culture, in which interpretation has been complicated by the presence of endogenous SPARC. We therefore sought to determine whether cell shape and proliferation would be affected by the absence of SPARC. Mesangial cells, fibroblasts, and aortic smooth muscle cells were isolated from SPARC-null and age-matched, wild-type mice. In contrast to wild-type cells, SPARC-null mesangial cells exhibited a flat morphology and an altered actin cytoskeleton. In addition, vinculin-containing focal adhesions were distributed over the center of SPARC-null cells, whereas in wild-type cells, the number of focal adhesions was reduced, and these structures were restricted largely to the cell periphery. Although the SPARC-null fibroblasts did not display overt differences in cell morphology, the cells responded to exogenous recombinant SPARC by rounding up in a manner similar to that of wild-type fibroblasts. Thus, the expression of endogenous SPARC is not required for the response of cells to SPARC. Additionally, SPARC-null mesangial cells, fibroblasts, and smooth muscle cells proliferated faster than their respective wild-type counterparts. Null cells also showed a greater sensitivity to the inhibition of cell cycle progression by the addition of recombinant SPARC. The increased proliferation rate of SPARC-null cells appeared to be mediated, at least in part, by an increase in the cell cycle regulatory protein cyclin A. We conclude that the expression of SPARC influences the cellular architecture of mesangial cells and that SPARC plays a role in the regulation of cell cycle in mesangial cells, fibroblasts, and smooth muscle cells.