Matrilin-2 is a component of extracellular filamentous networks. To study the interactions by which it can be integrated into such assemblies, full-length and truncated forms of matrilin-2 were recombinantly expressed in HEK-293 cells and purified from conditioned medium. The recombinant proteins, when used in interaction assays, showed affinity to matrilin-2 itself, but also to other collagenous and non-collagenous extracellular matrix proteins. The interaction between matrilin-2 and collagen I was studied in greater detail and could be shown to occur at distinct sites on the collagen I molecule and to have a KD of about 3×10-8M. Interactions with some non-collagenous protein ligands were even stronger, with matrilin-2 binding to fibrillin-2, fibronectin and laminin-1—nidogen-1 complexes, with KD values in the range of 10-8—10-11M. Co-localization of matrilin-2 with these ligands in the dermal-epidermal basement membrane, in the microfibrils extending from the basement membrane into the dermis, and in the dermal extracellular matrix, indicates a physiological relevance of the interactions in the assembly of supramolecular extracellular matrix structures.

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