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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Generation and novel distribution of matrix metalloproteinase-derived aggrecan fragments in porcine cartilage explants.

We have studied aggrecan catabolism mediated by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in a porcine cartilage culture system. Using antibodies specific for DIPEN(341) and (342)FFGVG neoepitopes, we have detected MMP-derived fragments in conditioned medium and cultured cartilage, by radioimmunoassay, Western blotting, and immunolocalization. Radioimmunoassay revealed that the amount (pmol of epitope/mg of total glycosaminoglycan) of (342)FFGVG epitope released from cartilage remained constant over a 5-day culture period and was not increased by IL-1alpha or retinoate. However, the proportion (pmol of epitope/mg of released glycosaminoglycan) of (342)FFGVG epitope released was decreased upon stimulation, consistent with the involvement of a non-MMP proteinase, such as aggrecanase. The data suggest that in vitro MMPs may be involved in the base-line catabolism of aggrecan. Immunolocalization experiments showed that DIPEN(341) and ITEGE(373) epitopes were increased by treatment with IL-1alpha and retinoate. Confocal microscopy revealed that ITEGE(373) epitope was largely intracellular but with matrix staining in the superficial zone, whereas DIPEN(341) epitope was cell-associated and widely distributed in the matrix. Surprisingly, the majority of (342)FFGVG epitope, determined by radioimmunoassay and Western blotting, was retained in the tissue despite the absence of a G1 domain anchor. Interleukin-1alpha stimulation caused a marked increase in tissue DIPEN(341) and (342)FFGVG epitope, and the (342)FFGVG fragments retained in the tissue were larger than those released into the medium. Active porcine aggrecanase was unable to cleave (342)FFGVG fragments at the downward arrowGlu(373) downward arrowAla(374) bond but cleaved intact aggrecan at this site, suggesting that (342)FFGVG fragments are not substrates for aggrecanase. The apparent retention of large (342)FFGVG fragments within cartilage, and their resistance to N-terminal cleavage by aggrecanase suggests that (342)FF6V6 fragments may have a role in cartilage homeostasis.[1]


  1. Generation and novel distribution of matrix metalloproteinase-derived aggrecan fragments in porcine cartilage explants. Fosang, A.J., Last, K., Stanton, H., Weeks, D.B., Campbell, I.K., Hardingham, T.E., Hembry, R.M. J. Biol. Chem. (2000) [Pubmed]
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