A heparin sulfate-regulated human keratinocyte autocrine factor is similar or identical to amphiregulin

P. W. Cook, P. A. Mattox, W. W. Keeble, M. R. Pittelkow, G. D. Plowman, M. Shoyab, J. P. Adelman, G. D. Shipley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Scopus citations


A novel human keratinocyte-derived autocrine factor (KAF) was purified from conditioned medium by using heparin affinity chromatography as the first step. Purified KAF stimulated the growth of normal human keratinocytes, mouse AKR-2B cells, and a mouse keratinocyte cell line (BALB/MK). Heparin sulfate inhibited KAF mitogenic activity on all cell types tested and inhibited the ability of KAF to compete with epidermal growth factor for cell surface binding. Interestingly, KAF stimulated the growth of BALB/MK cells at high cell density but failed to stimulate these cells at clonal density. Protein microsequencing of the first 20 NH2-terminal amino acid residues of purified KAF revealed identity to the NH2 terminus of human amphiregulin (AR). Northern (RNA) blot analysis with AR-specific cRNA demonstrated that human keratinocytes, as well as mammary epithelial cell cultures, expressed high levels of AR mRNA. In contrast, AR mRNA was not detected in normal human fibroblasts or melanocytes and was present at reduced levels in several mammary tumor cell lines. The mitogenic activity of purified AR was also shown to be inhibited by heparin sulfate, and an AR-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) revealed that KAF and AR are antigenically related. We have previously shown that human keratinocytes can grow in an autocrine manner. Our present study demonstrates that one of the growth factors responsible for this autocrine growth (KAF) is similar or identical to AR and that KAF and AR bioactivity can be negatively regulated by heparin sulfate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2547-2557
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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