Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein/thrombospondin 5 supports chondrocyte attachment through interaction with integrins.
Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein/thrombospondin 5 (COMP/TSP5) is a major component of the extracellular matrix of the musculoskeletal system. Although COMP/TSP5 abnormalities are associated with several pathological conditions, its normal function remains unclear. This study was undertaken to delineate the function(s) of COMP/TSP5 in cartilage, especially regarding its interaction with chondrocytes. We show that COMP/TSP5 can support chondrocyte attachment and that the RGD sequence in COMP/TSP5 and the integrin receptors alpha5beta1 and alphaVbeta3 on the chondrocytes are involved in mediating this attachment. The interactions of COMP/TSP5 with the integrins are dependent on COMP/TSP5 conformation. Chondrocyte attachment to COMP/TSP5 in the calcium-replete conformation was inhibited by function-blocking integrin alpha5 and beta1 antibodies, suggesting the involvement of the alpha5beta1 integrin. Under this condition, a function-blocking antibody against alphaVbeta3 did not have any effect on cell attachment. On the other hand, chondrocyte attachment to reduced COMP/TSP5 was instead sensitive to alphaVbeta3 function-blocking antibodies, suggesting that COMP/TSP5 mediates attachment through chondrocyte alphaVbeta3 integrin under this condition. Cell attachment to reduced COMP/TSP5 was not inhibited by beta1 antibodies. These data indicate that COMP/TSP5 in different conformations can utilize different integrin receptors. These results are the first to demonstrate that COMP/TSP5 can mediate chondrocyte attachment through interactions with integrins. Through these interactions, COMP/TSP5 may be able to regulate cellular activities and respond to environment in the surrounding cartilage matrix.