Most growth factors are naturally occurring proteins, which are signaling molecules implicated in cellular multiple functions such as proliferation, migration and differentiation under patho/physiological conditions by interacting with cell surface receptors and other ligands in the extracellular microenvironment. Many of the growth factors are heparin-binding proteins (HBPs) that have a high affinity for cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG). In the present study, we report the binding kinetics and affinity of heparin interacting with different growth factors, including fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 2,7,10, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and transforming growth factor (TGF β-1), using a heparin chip. Surface plasmon resonance studies revealed that all the tested growth factors bind to heparin with high affinity (with KD
ranging from ~0.1 to 59 nM) and all the interactions are oligosaccharide size dependent except those involving TGF β-1. These heparin-binding growth factors also interact with other glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), as well as various chemically modified heparins. Other GAGs, including heparan sulfate, chondroitin sulfates A, B, C, D, E and keratan sulfate, showed different inhibition activities for the growth factor-heparin interactions. FGF2, FGF7, FGF10 and HGF bind heparin but the 2-O
-sulfo and 6-O
-sulfo groups on heparin have less impact on these interactions than do the N
-sulfo groups. All the three sulfo groups (N
) on heparin are important for TGFβ-1-heparin interaction.
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