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J Biol Chem. 1991 Jan 15;266(2):894-902.

Complete coding sequence and deduced primary structure of the human cartilage large aggregating proteoglycan, aggrecan. Human-specific repeats, and additional alternatively spliced forms.

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  • 1Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201.


We have obtained the complete coding sequence of the large aggregating chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan of human cartilage (aggrecan) from a combination of cDNA and genomic exon sequencing. We screened a human costal chondrocyte cDNA library, using rat aggrecan cDNA probes, and obtained three nonoverlapping clones totaling 6.2 kilobases in length. These clones were sequenced, and the sequence of the gaps between clones was obtained from genomic exon fragments and polymerase chain reaction-amplified cDNA. The composite sequence is 7137 nucleotides long, encoding 2316 amino acids. The human and rat aggrecan amino acid sequences are about 75% identical, with domains ranging from 100% to about 60% of conserved amino acids. The human sequence contains two regions of highly conserved repeats not found in rat aggrecan: 11 repeats of a hexameric sequence in the keratan sulfate attachment domain, E-E-P-(S,F)-P-S; and a 19-amino acid sequence reiterated 19 times, in the CS-1 portion of the serine-glycine-containing region. There are at least three forms of aggrecan transcripts, generated by alternative exon usage, and the form reported here is the shortest and also the most prevalent, lacking both the epidermal growth factor-like domain, and the complement regulatory protein-like sequence.

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