We have found that fibronectin (FN) has a functional cryptic site opposing cell adhesion to extracellular matrix (ECM): a synthetic FN peptide derived from the 14th FN type III-like (FN-III) repeat, termed peptide FNIII14, inhibits cell adhesion to the FN without binding to β1 integrins. This antiadhesive activity of peptide FNIII14 depends on its C-terminal amino acid sequence YTIYVIAL. A 50-kDa membrane protein (p50) has been detected as a specific binding protein of peptide FNIII14. Here we showed that antiadhesive activity of peptide FNIII14 was depedent upon the presence of p50 on cell surfaces. Furthermore, we found that there exists a sequence, analogous to the YTIYVIAL, in the 10th FN-III repeat of the FN molecule and that a FN peptide containing this analogous sequence, termed peptide FNIII10, inhibited cell adhesion to the FN. Peptide FNIII10 appeared to share p50 with peptide FNIII14 in expressing the antiadhesive activity. As a physiological consequence of decreased adhesion, peptides FNIII10 and FNIII14 accelerated the anoikis-like apoptosis of normal fibroblasts by down-regulating Bcl-2 expression through blocking the FAK/PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. Thus, the YTIYVIAL-related sequences of the FN molecule may be involved in cell regulation by modulating negatively cell adhesion to the ECM, in which p50 probably serves as a membrane receptor.
2007 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan