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J Biol Chem. 2003 May 16;278(20):18353-9. Epub 2003 Feb 21.

Light and X-ray scattering show decorin to be a dimer in solution.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H7, Canada.


Decorin is a widely distributed member of the extracellular matrix small leucine-rich repeat glycoprotein/proteoglycan family. For investigation of its physical properties, decorin from two sources (young steer skin and a recombinant adenovirus) was used. The first sample was extracted into 7 m urea and purified, while the second was isolated from medium conditioned by 293A cells infected with adenovirus and purified without chaotropes. The only chemical differences detected between these materials were a slightly shorter glycosaminoglycan chain and the retention of the propeptide on the latter. Circular dichroism spectra of the two samples were virtually identical, showing a high proportion of beta-sheet and beta-turn and little alpha-helix. The protein cores were completely denatured in 2.25 m guanidine HCl (GdnHCl) but recovered their secondary structure on removal of chaotrope. Light scattering of material eluted from gel-filtration columns in Tris-buffered saline, pH 7.0, gave molecular mass values of 165 +/- 1 kDa and 84.6 +/- 4 kDa for intact decorin and the glycoprotein core produced by digestion with chondroitin ABC lyase, respectively. Intact recombinant prodecorin had a mass of 148 +/- 18 kDa. These values, which are double those estimated from SDS gel electrophoresis or from the known sequences and compositions, were halved in 2.5 m GdnHCl. Data from solution x-ray scattering of intact decorin and its core in Tris-buffered saline are consistent with a dimeric particle whose protein component has a radius of gyration of 31.6 +/- 0.4 A, a maximum diameter of 98 +/- 5 A, and approximates two intertwined C shapes.

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