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J Biol Chem. 2002 May 3;277(18):15354-62. Epub 2002 Feb 19.

A novel allelic variant of the human TSG-6 gene encoding an amino acid difference in the CUB module. Chromosomal localization, frequency analysis, modeling, and expression.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Immunochemistry Unit, University of Oxford, South Parks Rd., Oxford OX1 3QU, United Kingdom.


Tumor necrosis factor-stimulated gene-6 (TSG-6) encodes a 35-kDa protein, which is comprised of contiguous Link and CUB modules. TSG-6 protein has been detected in the articular joints of osteoarthritis (OA) patients, with little or no constitutive expression in normal adult tissues. It interacts with components of cartilage matrix (e.g. hyaluronan and aggrecan) and thus may be involved in extracellular remodeling during joint disease. In addition, TSG-6 has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties in models of acute and chronic inflammation. Here we have mapped the human TSG-6 gene to 2q23.3, a region of chromosome 2 linked with OA. A single nucleotide polymorphism was identified that involves a non-synonymous G --> A transition at nucleotide 431 of the TSG-6 coding sequence, resulting in an Arg to Gln alteration in the CUB module (at residue 144 in the preprotein). Molecular modeling of the CUB domain indicated that this amino acid change might lead to functional differences. Typing of 400 OA cases and 400 controls revealed that the A(431) variant identified here is the major TSG-6 allele in Caucasians (with over 75% being A(431) homozygotes) but that this polymorphism is not a marker for OA susceptibility in the patients we have studied. Expression of the Arg(144) and Gln(144) allotypes in Drosophila Schneider 2 cells, and functional characterization, showed that there were no significant differences in the ability of these full-length proteins to bind hyaluronan or form a stable complex with inter-alpha-inhibitor.

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