Studies of multimerin in human endothelial cells.
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Multimerin is a novel, massive, soluble protein that resembles von Willebrand factor in its repeating, homomultimeric structure. Both proteins are expressed by megakaryocytes and endothelial cells and are stored in the region of platelet alpha-granules resembling Weibel-Palade bodies. These findings led us to study the distribution of multimerin within human endothelial cells. Multimerin was identified in vascular endothelium in situ. In cultured endothelial cells, multimerin was identified within round to rod-shaped, dense-core granules, some of which contained intragranular, longitudinally arranged tubules and resembled Weibel-Palade bodies. However, multimerin was found primarily in different structures than the Weibel-Palade body proteins von Willebrand factor and P-selectin. After stimulation with secretagogues, multimerin was observed to redistribute from intracellular structures to the external cellular membrane, without detectable accompanied secretion of multimerin into the culture media. In early passage endothelial cell cultures, multimerin was associated with extensive, fibrillary, extracellular matrix structures, in a different distribution than fibronectin. Although multimerin and von Willebrand factor are stored together in platelets, they are mainly found within different structures in endothelial cells, indicating that there are tissue-specific differences in the sorting of these soluble, multimeric proteins.
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