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J Biol Chem. 2003 Jun 27;278(26):23666-71. Epub 2003 Apr 25.

Molecular cloning of a chondroitin polymerizing factor that cooperates with chondroitin synthase for chondroitin polymerization.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Kobe Pharmaceutical University, Higashinada-ku, Kobe 658-8558, Japan.


We recently cloned human chondroitin synthase (ChSy) exhibiting the glucuronyltransferase-II (GlcATII) and N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase-II (GalNAcTII) activities responsible for the biosynthesis of repeating disaccharide units of chondroitin sulfate, but chondroitin polymerization was not demonstrated in vitro using the recombinant ChSy. We report here that the chondroitin polymerizing activity requires concomitant expression of a novel protein designated chondroitin polymerizing factor (ChPF) with ChSy. The human ChPF consists of 775 amino acids with a type II transmembrane protein topology. The amino acid sequence displayed 23% identity to that of human ChSy. The expression of a soluble recombinant form of the protein in COS-1 cells produced a protein with little GlcAT-II or GalNAcT-II activity. In contrast, coexpression of the ChPF and ChSy yielded markedly augmented glycosyltransferase activities, whereas simple mixing of the two separately expressed proteins did not. Moreover, using both UDP-glucuronic acid (GlcUA) and UDP-N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc) as sugar donors, chondroitin polymerization was demonstrated on the so-called glycosaminoglycan-protein linkage region tetrasaccharide sequence of alpha-thrombomodulin. These results suggested that the ChPF acts as a specific activating factor for ChSy in chondroitin polymerization. The coding region of the ChPF was divided into four discrete exons and localized to chromosome 2q35-q36. Northern blot analysis revealed that the ChPF gene exhibited a markedly different expression pattern among various human tissues, which was similar to that of ChSy. Thus, the ChPF is required for chondroitin polymerizing activity of mammalian ChSy.

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