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Hyaluronidase (HYAL)-2 is a weak, acid-active, hyaluronan-degrading enzyme broadly expressed in somatic tissues. Aberrant HYAL2 expression is implicated in diverse pathology. However, a significant proportion of HYAL2 is enzymatically inactive; thus the mechanisms through which HYAL2 dysregulation influences pathobiology are unclear. Recently, nonenzymatic HYAL2 functions have been described, and nuclear HYAL2 has been shown to influence mRNA splicing to prevent myofibroblast differentiation. Myofibroblasts drive fibrosis, thereby promoting progressive tissue damage and leading to multimorbidity. This study identifies a novel HYAL2 cytoplasmic function in myofibroblasts that is unrelated to its enzymatic activity. In fibroblasts and myofibroblasts, HYAL2 interacts with the GTPase-signaling small molecule ras homolog family member A (RhoA). Transforming growth factor beta 1-driven fibroblast-to-myofibroblast differentiation promotes HYAL2 cytoplasmic relocalization to bind to the actin cytoskeleton. Cytoskeletal-bound HYAL2 functions as a key regulator of downstream RhoA signaling and influences profibrotic myofibroblast functions, including myosin light-chain kinase-mediated myofibroblast contractility, myofibroblast migration, myofibroblast collagen/fibronectin deposition, as well as connective tissue growth factor and matrix metalloproteinase-2 expression. These data demonstrate that, in certain biological contexts, the nonenzymatic effects of HYAL2 are crucial in orchestrating RhoA signaling and downstream pathways that are important for full profibrotic myofibroblast functionality. In conjunction with previous data demonstrating the influence of HYAL2 on RNA splicing, these findings begin to explain the broad biological effects of HYAL2. Crown Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Adam C Midgley, Emma L Woods, Robert H Jenkins, Charlotte Brown, Usman Khalid, Rafael Chavez, Vincent Hascall, Robert Steadman, Aled O Phillips, Soma Meran. Hyaluronidase-2 Regulates RhoA Signaling, Myofibroblast Contractility, and Other Key Profibrotic Myofibroblast Functions. The American journal of pathology. 2020 Jun;190(6):1236-1255

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PMID: 32201263

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