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Matrix Biol. 1997 Oct;16(4):211-21.

Non-glycosaminoglycan bearing domains of perlecan and aggrecan influence the utilization of sites for heparan and chondroitin sulfate synthesis.

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  • 1Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children, Research Unit, Portland, Oregon, USA.


Perlecan and aggrecan are proteoglycans that receive primarily heparan sulfate and chondroitin sulfate side chains, respectively. Their large multidomained core proteins have little or no homology to each other and their glycosaminoglycan (GAG) attachment sites are restricted to certain domains only. We examined the involvement of the non-GAG bearing domains in designating the GAG type added to the GAG attachment domain by preparing cDNA constructs that expressed perlecan/aggrecan chimeras as recombinant products in COS-7 cells and then determining the size and GAG composition of the recombinant products. The results showed that domain I of perlecan receives primarily (73-81%) heparan sulfate when coupled with domain II and III of perlecan, but when coupled with the G3 domain of aggrecan, it receives primarily (59-63%) chondroitin sulfate. Furthermore, the chondroitin sulfate attachment region of aggrecan received GAG side chains more readily when coupled to the G3 domain of aggrecan than when coupled to domains II and III of perlecan. The GAG side chains on all these recombinant products were small and similar in size. These findings indicate that the utilization of attachment sites for heparan and chondroitin sulfate or the sulfation of these GAGs can be influenced, in part, by non-GAG bearing domains.

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