Granzyme B cleavage of fibronectin disrupts endothelial cell adhesion, migration and capillary tube formation.


Dysregulated angiogenesis contributes to the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory diseases. Modulation of the extracellular matrix by immune-derived proteases can alter endothelial cell-matrix interactions as well as endothelial cell sprouting, migration and capillary formation. Granzyme B is a serine protease that is expressed by a variety of immune cells, and accumulates in the extracellular milieu in many chronic inflammatory disorders that are associated with dysregulated angiogenesis. Although granzyme B is known to cleave fibronectin, an essential glycoprotein in vascular morphogenesis, the role of granzyme B in modulating angiogenesis is unknown. In the present study, granzyme B cleaved both plasma fibronectin and cell-derived fibronectin, resulting in the release of multiple fibronectin fragments. Granzyme B cleavage of fibronectin resulted in a dose-dependent reduction in endothelial cell adhesion to fibronectin as well as reduced endothelial cell migration and tubular formation. These events were prevented when granzyme B activity was inhibited by a small molecule inhibitor. In summary, granzyme B-mediated cleavage of fibronectin contributes to attenuated angiogenesis through the disruption of endothelial cell - fibronectin interaction resulting in impaired endothelial cell migration and tubular formation.


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