Homozygous recessive mutations in either EFEMP2 (encoding fibulin-4) or FBLN5 (encoding fibulin-5), critical genes for elastogenesis, lead to autosomal recessive cutis laxa types 1B and 1A, respectively. Previously, fibulin-4was shown to bind lysyl oxidase (LOX), an elastin/collagen cross-linking enzyme, in vitro. Consistently, reported defects in humans with EFEMP2 mutations are more severe and broad in range than those due to FBLN5 mutations and encompass both elastin-rich and collagen-rich tissues. However, the underlying disease mechanism in EFEMP2 mutations has not been fully addressed. Here,we show that fibulin-4 is important for the integrity of aortic collagen in addition to elastin. Smooth muscle-specific Efemp2 loss in mouse (termed SMKO) resulted in altered fibrillar collagen localization with larger, poorly organized fibrils. LOX activity was decreased in Efemp2-null cells, and collagen cross-linking was diminished in SMKO aortas; however, elastin cross-linking was unaffected and the level of mature LOX was maintained to that of wild-type aortas. Proteomic screening identified multiple proteins involved in procollagen processing and maturation as potential fibulin-4-binding partners. We showed that fibulin-4 binds procollagen C-endopeptidase enhancer 1 (Pcolce), which enhances proteolytic cleavage of the procollagen C-terminal propeptide during procollagen processing. Interestingly, however, procollagen cleavage was not affected by the presence or absence of fibulin-4 in vitro. Thus, our data indicate that fibulin-4 serves as a potential scaffolding protein during collagen maturation in the extracellular space. Analysis of collagen in other tissues affected by fibulin-4 loss should further increase our understanding of underlying pathologic mechanisms in patients with EFEMP2 mutations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology