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J Biol Chem. 1988 Apr 25;263(12):5820-4.

The identification of matrix Gla protein in cartilage.

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Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093.


The vitamin K-dependent bone protein matrix gamma-carboxyglutamic acid (Gla) protein (MGP) has been identified by radioimmunoassay in the guanidine extract of rat cartilage. MGP was present in all cartilages tested at levels comparable to the MGP level in bone. Western blot analysis indicated that the molecular weight of cartilage MGP is the same as bone MGP, and Northern blot analysis revealed that MGP mRNA from cartilage is the same size as the MGP mRNA from bone. The structurally related vitamin K-dependent protein bone Gla protein could not be detected in cartilage by radioimmunoassay or by Northern blot analysis. The discovery that MGP is synthesized by growth plate cartilage could provide an explanation for the excessive growth plate mineralization disorder seen in rats treated with the vitamin K antagonist warfarin and the punctate mineralization of the growth plate seen in infants whose mothers received warfarin in the first trimester of pregnancy (the fetal warfarin syndrome). Both disorders appear to be caused by the inactivation of a vitamin K-dependent mineralization inhibitor in cartilage, an inhibitor which we suggest is MGP.

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