Protein NOV homolog, also known as Nephroblastoma-overexpressed gene protein homolog, NOV, and CCN3, is a putative ligand for integrin receptors, is tightly associated with the extracellular matrix and mediates diverse cellular functions, including cell adhesion and proliferation. CCN3 has been shown to negatively regulate growth although it promotes migration in a cell type-specific manner. This secreted protein belongs to the CCN family, and its expression was observed in a broad variety of tissues from the early stage of development , and altered expression of CCN3 has been observed in a variety of tumors, including hepatocellular carcinomas, Wilm's tumors, Ewing's sarcomas, gliomas, rhabdomyosarcomas, and adrenocortical carcinomas. Mature CCN3 protein has five distinct modules and truncated protein variants with altered function are found in many cancers. CCN3 acts through the core stem cell signalling pathways including Notch and Bone Morphogenic Protein, connecting CCN3 with the modulation of self-renewal and maturation of a number of cell lineages including hematopoietic, osteogenic and chondrogenic. CCN3 may affect the extracellular environment of the niche for hematopoietic stem cells. CCN3 has emerged as a key player in stem cell regulation, hematopoiesis and a crucial component within the bone marrow microenvironment.
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