Regulation of the extrinsic apoptotic pathway by the extracellular matrix glycoprotein EMILIN2

Maurizio Mongiat, Giovanni Ligresti, Stefano Marastoni, Erica Lorenzon, Roberto Doliana, Alfonso Colombatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Elastin microfibril interface-located proteins (EMILINs) constitute a family of extracellular matrix (ECM) glycoproteins characterized by the presence of an EMI domain at the N terminus and a gC1q domain at the C terminus. EMILIN1, the archetype molecule of the family, is involved in elastogenesis and hypertension etiology, whereas the function of EMILIN2 has not been resolved. Here, we provide evidence that the expression of EMILIN2 triggers the apoptosis of different cell lines. Cell death depends on the activation of the extrinsic apoptotic pathway following EMILIN2 binding to the TRAIL receptors DR4 and, to a lesser extent, DR5. Binding is followed by receptor clustering, colocalization with lipid rafts, death-inducing signaling complex assembly, and caspase activation. The direct activation of death receptors by an ECM molecule that mimics the activity of the known death receptor ligands is novel. The knockdown of EMILIN2 increases transformed cell survival, and overexpression impairs clonogenicity in soft agar and three-dimensional growth in natural matrices due to massive apoptosis. These data demonstrate an unexpected direct and functional interaction of an ECM constituent with death receptors and discloses an additional mechanism by which ECM cues can negatively affect cell survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7176-7187
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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