Chain gangs: new aspects of hyaluronan metabolism.

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Biochemistry research international, ISSN: 2090-2255, Vol: 2012, Page: 893947

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Erickson, Michael; Stern, Robert
Hindawi Limited; Biochemistry Research International
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
article description
Hyaluronan is a matrix polymer prominent in tissues undergoing rapid growth, development, and repair, in embryology and during malignant progression. It reaches 10(7) Daltons in size but also exists in fragmented forms with size-specific actions. It has intracellular forms whose functions are less well known. Hyaluronan occurs in all vertebrate tissues with 50% present in skin. Hyaluronan provides a scaffold on which sulfated proteoglycans and matrix proteins are organized. These supramolecular structures are able to entrap water and ions to provide tissues with hydration and turgor. Hyaluronan is recognized by membrane receptors that trigger intracellular signaling pathways regulating proliferation, migration, and differentiation. Cell responses are often dependent on polymer size. Catabolic turnover occurs by hyaluronidases and by free radicals, though proportions between these have not been determined. New aspects of hyaluronan biology have recently become realized: involvement in autophagy, in the pathology of diabetes., the ability to modulate immune responses through effects on T regulatory cells and, in its fragmented forms, by being able to engage several toll-like receptors. It is also apparent that hyaluronan synthases and hyaluronidases are regulated at many more levels than previously realized, and that the several hyaluronidases have functions in addition to their enzymatic activities.