Trans-regulation of Syndecan Functions by Hetero-oligomerization [Signal Transduction]

May 15th, 2015 by Choi, Y., Kwon, M.-J., Lim, Y., Yun, J.-H., Lee, W., Oh, E.-S.

Syndecans, a family of transmembrane heparansulfate proteoglycans, are known to interact through their transmembrane domains to form non-covalently linked homodimers, a process essential for their individual functions. Because all syndecan transmembrane domains are highly conserved, and thus might mediate interactions between different members of the syndecan family, we investigated syndecan interactions in detail. All recombinant syndecan-2 and -4 protein variants containing the transmembrane domain formed not only sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-resistant homodimers but also SDS-resistant heterodimers. Biochemical and structural data revealed that recombinant syndecan-2 and -4 formed inter-molecular interactions in vitro and GxxxG motif in transmembrane domain mediated this interaction. When exogenously expressed in rat embryonic fibroblasts, syndecan-2 interacted with syndecan-4 and vice versa. Furthermore, bimolecular fluorescence complementation-based assay demonstrated specific hetero-molecular interactions between syndecan-2 and -4, supporting hetero-oligomer formation of syndecans in vivo. Interestingly, hetero-oligomerization significantly reduced syndecan-4-mediated cellular processes such as protein kinase Cα activation and protein kinase Cα-mediated cell adhesion, as well as syndecan-2-mediated tumorigenic activities in colon cancer cells such as migration and anchorage-independent growth. Taken together, these data provide evidence that hetero-oligomerization produces distinct syndecan functions and offer insights into the underlying signaling mechanisms of syndecans.