Objectives To investigate the difference in the dynamics of transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) receptors between normal and scleroderma fibroblasts.
Methods The cell surface expression levels of TGF-β receptors were determined by biotinylation and immunoprecipitation assay. The dynamics of TGF-β receptors on the cell surface was determined by the reversible biotinylation assay. The subcellular localisation of TGF-β receptors was determined by immunoprecipitation using antibodies against clathrin and caveolin.
Results Although the total expression levels of TGF-β receptors were elevated in scleroderma fibroblasts compared with normal fibroblasts, there was no significant difference in the cell surface expression levels of TGF-β receptors between these two groups. However, the internalisation rate of TGF-β receptors was higher in scleroderma fibroblasts compared with normal fibroblasts. Furthermore, caveolin constitutively made a complex with TGF-β receptors, while the interaction of clathrin with TGF-β receptors was marginal in scleroderma fibroblasts.
Conclusions The dynamics of TGF-β receptors on the cell surface is accelerated in scleroderma fibroblasts. Considering that the activation state of TGF-β signalling is regulated by a balance between the clathrin-dependent internalisation and the lipid raft-caveolar internalisation, the accumulation of TGF-β receptors in caveolin-positive vesicles may result in the deceleration of caveolin-dependent internalisation and subsequently lead to the relative acceleration of clathrin-dependent internalisation.
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Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the University of Tokyo.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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