Oct 2, 1998

Roles of aggrecan, a large chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan, in cartilage structure and function

Journal of Biochemistry
H WatanabeKoji Kimata


Aggrecan, a large aggregating proteoglycan, is one of the major structural components of cartilage. Its core protein contains three glubular domains and two glycosaminoglycan-attachment domains. These domains play various roles to maintain cartilage structure and function. An N-terminal globular domain binds hyaluronan and link protein to form huge aggregates. The chondroitin sulfate (CS) chains attach to the CS domain and provide a hydrated, viscous gel that absorbs compressive load. Two autosomal recessive chondrodysplasias, cartilage matrix deficiency (cmd) in mice and nanomelia in chicken are both caused by aggrecan gene mutations. Cmd homozygotes die shortly after birth, while the heterozygotes are born normal. However, cmd heterozygotes develop late onset of spinal disorder, which suggests aggrecan as a candidate gene predisposing individuals to spinal problems. Nanomelia is a useful model to elucidate intracellular trafficking of proteoglycans. Further studies on aggrecan will lead to prophylaxis and treatment of joint destructive diseases such as osteoarthrosis and to elucidation of cartilage development, which is essential for skeletal formation.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Spinal Diseases
Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans
Hyrex Brand of Dimenhydrinate
Degenerative Polyarthritis
Link protein

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