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Dev Biol. 1997 Dec 1;192(1):108-24.

Isolation and characterization of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans from embryonic quail that influence neural crest cell behavior.

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  • 1The Murdoch Institute for Research into Birth Defects, Royal Children's Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia.


The movement of neural crest cells is controlled in part by extracellular matrix. Aggrecan, the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan from adult cartilage, curtails the ability of neural crest cells to adhere, spread, and move across otherwise favorable matrix substrates in vitro. Our aim was to isolate, characterize, and compare the structure and effect on neural crest cells of aggrecan and proteoglycans purified from the tissues through which neural crest cells migrate. We metabolically radiolabeled proteoglycans in E2.5 quail embryos and isolated and characterized proteoglycans from E3.3 quail trunk and limb bud. The major labeled proteoglycan was highly negatively charged, similar in hydrodynamic size to chick limb bud versican/PG-M, smaller than adult cartilage aggrecan but larger than reported for embryonic sternal cartilage aggrecan. The molecular weight of the iodinated core protein was about 400 kDa, which is more than reported for aggrecan but less than that of chick versican/PG-M. The proteoglycan bore chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycan chains of 45 kDa, which is larger than those of aggrecan. It lacked dermatan sulfate, heparan sulfate, or keratan sulfate chains. It bound to collagen type I, like aggrecan, but not to fibronectin (unlike versican/PG-M), collagen type IV, or laminin-1 in solid-phase assays and it bound to hyaluronate in gel-shift assays. When added at concentrations between 10 and 30 microg/ml to substrates of fibronectin, trunk proteoglycan inhibited neural crest cell spreading and migration. Attenuation of cell spreading was shown to be the most sensitive and titratable measure of the effect on neural crest cells. This effect was sensitive to digestion with chondroitinase ABC. Similar cell behavior was also produced by aggrecan and the small dermatan sulfate proteoglycan decorin; however, 30-fold more aggrecan was required to produce an effect of similar magnitude. When added in solution to neural crest cells which were already spread and migrating on fibronectin, the embryonic proteoglycan rapidly and reversibly caused complete rounding of the cells, being at least 30-fold more potent than aggrecan in this activity.

Copyright 1997 Academic Press.

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