Fibroblast Growth Factors and Cellular Communication Network Factors: Intimate Interplay by the Founding Members in Cartilage

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) constitute a large family of signaling molecules that act in an autocrine/paracrine, endocrine, or intracrine manner, whereas the cellular communication network factors (CCN) family is composed of six members that manipulate extracellular signaling networks. FGFs and CCNs are structurally and functionally distinct, except for the common characteristics as matricellular proteins. Both play significant roles in the development of a variety of tissues and organs, including the skeletal system. In vertebrates, most of the skeletal parts are formed and grow through a process designated endochondral ossification, in which chondrocytes play the central role. The growth plate cartilage is the place where endochondral ossification occurs, and articular cartilage is left to support the locomotive function of joints. Several FGFs, including FGF-2, one of the founding members of this family, and all of the CCNs represented by CCN2, which is required for proper skeletal development, can be found therein. Research over a decade has revealed direct binding of CCN2 to FGFs and FGF receptors (FGFRs), which occasionally affect the biological outcome via FGF signaling. Moreover, a recent study uncovered an integrated regulation of FGF and CCN genes by FGF signaling. In this review, after a brief introduction of these two families, molecular and genetic interactions between CCN and FGF family members in cartilage, and their biological effects, are summarized. The molecular interplay represents the mutual involvement of the other in their molecular functions, leading to collaboration between CCN2 and FGFs during skeletal development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8592
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • cartilage
  • CCN2
  • cellular communication network factor
  • fibroblast growth factor
  • skeletal development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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