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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 19, Issue 9, September 2018, Article number 2787.

The published version is available at Copyright © Tsuda


Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β is a multifunctional peptide growth factor that has a vital role in the regulation of cell growth, differentiation, inflammation, and repair in a variety of tissues, and its dysregulation mediates a number of pathological conditions including fibrotic disorders, chronic inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer progression. Regulation of TGF-β signaling is multifold, but one critical site of regulation is via interaction with certain extracellular matrix (ECM) microenvironments, as TGF-β is primarily secreted as a biologically inactive form sequestrated into ECM. Several ECM proteins are known to modulate TGF-β signaling via cell⁻matrix interactions, including thrombospondins, SPARC (Secreted Protein Acidic and Rich in Cystein), tenascins, osteopontin, periostin, and fibulins. Fibulin family members consist of eight ECM glycoproteins characterized by a tandem array of calcium-binding epidermal growth factor-like modules and a common C-terminal domain. Fibulins not only participate in structural integrity of basement membrane and elastic fibers, but also serve as mediators for cellular processes and tissue remodeling as they are highly upregulated during embryonic development and certain disease processes, especially at the sites of epithelial⁻mesenchymal transition (EMT). Emerging studies have indicated a close relationship between fibulins and TGF-β signaling, but each fibulin plays a different role in a context-dependent manner. In this review, regulatory interactions between fibulins and TGF-β signaling are discussed. Understanding biological roles of fibulins in TGF-β regulation may introduce new insights into the pathogenesis of some human diseases.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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