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Matrix Biol. 2001 Jul;20(4):215-31.

Distinct expression of type XIII collagen in neuronal structures and other tissues during mouse development.

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  • 1Collagen Research Unit, Biocenter and Department of Medical Biochemistry, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, 90014, Oulu, Finland.


Type XIII collagen is a type II transmembrane protein found in adhesive structures of mature tissues. We describe here its expression and spatio-temporal localization during mouse fetal development. Type XIII collagen mRNAs were expressed at a constant rate during development, with an increase of expression towards birth. Strong type XIII collagen expression was detected in the central and peripheral nervous systems of the developing mouse fetus in mid-gestation. Cultured primary neurons also expressed this collagen, and it was found to enhance neurite outgrowth. The results suggest that type XIII collagen is a new member among the proteins involved in nervous system development. Strong expression during early development was also detected in the heart, with localization to cell-cell contacts and accentuation in the intercalated discs perinatally. During late fetal development, type XIII collagen was observed in many tissues, including cartilage, bone, skeletal muscle, lung, intestine and skin. Clear developmental shifts in expression suggest a role in endochondral ossification of bone and the branching morphogenesis in the lung. Notable structures lacking type XIII collagen were the endothelia of most blood vessels and the endocardium. Its initially unique staining pattern began to concentrate in the same adhesive structures where it exists in adult tissues, and started to resemble that of the beta1 integrin subunit and vinculin during late intrauterine development and in the perinatal period.

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