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Peroxidasin is required for full viability in development and for maintenance of tissue mechanics in adults


Peebles K. Elkie , LaFever Kimberly , Page-McCaw Patrick , Colon Selene , Wang Dan , Stricker Aubrie , Ferrell Nicolas , Bhave Gautam , Page-McCaw Andrea . Matrix Biology. 2024 1 ; ().


Basement membranes are thin strong sheets of extracellular matrix. They provide mechanical and biochemical support to epithelia, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels, among other tissues. The mechanical properties of basement membranes are conferred in part by Collagen IV (Col4), an abundant protein of basement membranes that forms an extensive two-dimensional network through head-to-head and tail-to-tail interactions. After the Col4 network is assembled into a basement membrane, it is crosslinked by the matrix-resident enzyme Peroxidasin to form a large covalent polymer. Peroxidasin and Col4 crosslinking are highly conserved throughout the animal kingdom, indicating they are important, but homozygous mutant mice have mild phenotypes. To explore the role of Peroxidasin, we analyzed mutants in Drosophila, including a new CRISPR-generated catalytic null, and found that homozygotes were mostly lethal with 13 % viable escapers. Mouse mutants also show semi-lethality, with Mendelian analysis demonstrating ∼50 % lethality and ∼50 % escapers. Despite the strong mutations, the homozygous fly and mouse escapers had low but detectable levels of Col4 crosslinking, indicating the existence of inefficient alternative crosslinking mechanisms, probably responsible for the viable escapers. Fly mutant phenotypes are consistent with decreased basement membrane stiffness. Interestingly, we found that even after basement membranes are assembled and crosslinked in wild-type animals, continuing Peroxidasin activity is required in adults to maintain tissue stiffness over time. These results suggest that Peroxidasin crosslinking may be more important than previously appreciated.