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Exp Eye Res. 2000 Mar;70(3):349-62.

Expression of the keratan sulfate proteoglycans lumican, keratocan and osteoglycin/mimecan during chick corneal development.

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  • 1Shriners Hospitals for Children-Tampa, College of Medicine, University of South Florida, 12502 North Pine Drive, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


The corneal proteoglycans belong to the Leu-rich proteoglycan (LRP) gene family and contain chondroitin/dermatan (CS/DS) or keratan sulfate (KS) chains. These proteoglycans play a critical role in generating and maintaining a transparent matrix within the corneal stroma. Decorin which has CS/DS chains and lumican which has KS chains, were first to be identified in the cornea. Two other corneal KS proteoglycans (KSPGs), keratocan and osteoglycin/mimecan were recently identified in bovine corneas. We cloned and sequenced chick osteoglycin/mimecan and found it to contain a stretch of 60 amino acids that showed no identity to the presumed mammalian homolog. The 177 base pair DNA coding for this unique sequence shows 47% identity to an 189 base pair sequence between exons 4 and 5 of the bovine osteoglycin/mimecan gene. This indicates that this cDNA represents an alternatively spliced form of osteoglycin/mimecan containing a unique N-terminal sequence. The expression of each of the three corneal KSPGs in the developing and mature chick cornea was investigated by competitive PCR and immuno-biochemical analysis of corneal extracts. Competitive PCR was used to determine the message levels for chick lumican, keratocan and osteoglycin in embryonic day 9, 12, 15, 18 and adult corneas. Results showed that lumican mRNA fluctuated during development but remained at a relatively high level while keratocan and osteoglycin message levels declined steadily from day 9 to adult. Additionally, lumican mRNA was present at higher levels, during all stages of corneal development, than keratocan and at much higher levels than osteoglycin. Antibodies shown to be specific for each KSPG were used to characterize proteoglycans isolated from embryonic and adult chick corneas. KSPGs from embryonic corneas eluted 1-2 fractions earlier on Q-Sepharose than KSPG from adult corneas. Additionally, Western blot analysis showed that embryonic KSPGs were more keratanase-resistant, endo-beta-galactosidase sensitive than adult KSPGs. The results of this study indicate an alteration in sulfation or the fine structure of the glycosaminoglycan chains occurs during corneal maturation for the 3 KSPGs.

Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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