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J Mol Biol. 1989 Apr 20;206(4):737-53.

Immunoglobulin fold and tandem repeat structures in proteoglycan N-terminal domains and link protein.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Chemistry, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London, U.K.


Detailed primary sequence and secondary structure analyses are reported for the hyaluronate binding region (G1 domain) and link protein of proteoglycan aggregates. These are based on six full or partial sequences from the chicken, pig, human, rat and bovine proteins. Determinations of a full pig and a partial human link protein sequence are reported in the Appendix. Five sequences at the N terminus in both proteins were compared with the structures of 11 variable immunoglobulin (Ig) fold domains for which crystal structures are available. Despite only modest sequence homology, a clear alignment could be proposed. Analysis of this shows that the equivalents of the first and second hypervariable segments are now significantly longer, and both proteins have N-terminal extensions that are up to 23 residues in length. Secondary structure predictions showed that these sequences could be identified with available crystal structures for the variable Ig fold. However the hydrophobic residues involved in interactions between the light and heavy chains in Igs are replaced by hydrophilic charged groups in both proteins. These results imply that both proteins are members of the Ig superfamily, but exhibit structural differences distinct from other members of this superfamily for which crystal structures are known. The proteoglycan tandem repeat (PTR) is a repeat of 99 residues that is found twice in the amino acid sequence of link protein and the proteoglycan G1 domain adjacent to the Ig fold, and also twice in the proteoglycan G2 domain. A total of 16 PTRs was available for analysis. Compositional analyses show that these are positively charged if these originate from link protein, and negatively charged if from the G1 or G2 domains. The 16 Robson secondary structure predictions for the PTRs were averaged to improve the statistics of the prediction, and checked by comparison with Chou-Fasman calculations. A strong alpha-helix prediction was found at residues 13 to 25, and several beta-strands were predicted. The overall content is 18% alpha-helix and 28% beta-sheet, with 44% of the remaining sequence being predicted as turns. These analyses show that both the proteoglycan G1 domain and link protein are constructed from two distinct globular components, which may provide the two functional roles of these proteins in proteoglycan aggregation.

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