CCN1/CYR61: the very model of a modern matricellular protein

  • Lester F. Lau
Multi-author review


CCN1 (CYR61) is a dynamically expressed, multifunctional matricellular protein that plays essential roles in cardiovascular development during embryogenesis, and regulates inflammation, wound healing and fibrogenesis in the adult. Aberrant CCN1 expression is associated with myriad pathologies, including various cancers and diseases associated with chronic inflammation. CCN1 promotes diverse and sometimes opposing cellular responses, which can be ascribed, as least in part, to disparate activities mediated through its direct binding to distinct integrins in different cell types and contexts. Accordingly, CCN1 promotes cell proliferation, survival and angiogenesis by binding to integrin αvβ3, and induces apoptosis and senescence through integrin α6β1 and heparan sulfate proteoglycans. The ability of CCN1 to trigger the accumulation of a robust and sustained level of reactive oxygen species underlies some of its unique activities as a matrix cell-adhesion molecule. Emerging studies suggest that CCN1 might be useful as a biomarker or therapeutic target in certain diseases.


Angiogenesis Apoptosis Fibrosis Integrins Reactive oxygen species Senescence Signal transduction Tumorigenesis Wound healing 



Atrioventricular septal defects


Connective tissue growth factor


Cysteine-rich 61


Extracellular matrix


Extracellular signal-regulated kinase


G protein-coupled receptor


Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α


Human immunodeficiency virus type 1


Heparan sulfate proteoglycan




Internal ribosome entry sites


Matrix metalloproteinase


Myocardin-related transcriptional activator


Non-small-cell lung cancer


Nephroblastoma overexpressed


Reactive oxygen species


Senescence-associated secretory phenotype


Serum response element


Serum response factor


Transforming growth factor β


Tumor necrosis factor α


Thrombospondin type I repeat



I thank Chih-Chiun Chen and Joon-Il Jun for helpful comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by grants (CA46565, GM78492 and HL81390) from the National Institutes of Health.


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© Springer Basel AG 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular GeneticsUniversity of Illinois at Chicago College of MedicineChicagoUSA

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