Interaction of Late Apoptotic and Necrotic Cells with Vitronectin


Vitronectin is an abundant plasma glycoprotein identified also as a part of extracellular matrix. Vitronectin is substantially enriched at sites of injured, fibrosing, inflamed, and tumor tissues where it is believed to be involved in wound healing and tissue remodeling. Little is known about the mechanism of vitronectin localization into the damaged tissues.

Methodology/Principal Findings

2E12 antibody has been described to bind a subset of late apoptotic cells. Using immunoisolation followed by mass spectrometry, we identified the antigen recognized by 2E12 antibody as vitronectin. Based on flow cytometry, we described that vitronectin binds to the late apoptotic and necrotic cells in cell cultures in vitro as well as in murine thymus and spleen in vivo. Confocal microscopy revealed that vitronectin binds to an intracellular cytoplasmic structure after the membrane rupture.


We propose that vitronectin could serve as a marker of membrane disruption in necrosis and apoptosis for flow cytometry analysis. Moreover, we suggest that vitronectin binding to dead cells may represent one of the mechanisms of vitronectin incorporation into the injured tissues.