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J Biol Chem. 1986 Aug 15;261(23):10828-32.

Developmental appearance of matrix GLA protein during calcification in the rat.


A marked dissociation has been observed between the timed accumulation in calcified tissues of two related vitamin K-dependent proteins, bone Gla protein (BGP) and the recently discovered matrix Gla protein (MGP). In long bone diaphyses, total levels of MGP were essentially equivalent in newborn, juvenile, and adult rats. In agreement with previous studies, BGP levels were only 5% of adult levels in newborn rat bones and increased to 90% of adult levels by 19 days of age. Similar results were obtained from the analysis of the longitudinal distribution of MGP and BGP in 14-day-old rat tibia, a bone in which new mineral is added rapidly at both growth plates. Again, MGP was essentially at the same level in the regions nearest the growth plates as in the midshaft while BGP levels were 10-fold lower in the regions nearest the growth plates. These differences in the timed accumulation of MGP and BGP in calcifying tissues indicate that MGP could function earlier in bone formation than does BGP. To further characterize the MGP antigen in bone, extracts from newborn and adult rat bones were chromatographed by gel filtration over Sephacryl S-200. All of the antigen extracted by formic acid and most of the antigen subsequently extracted by guanidine HCI emerged at the position expected for the 79-residue MGP. There was a significant difference in the fraction of total MGP which was extracted by guanidine HCI in newborn (50%) and adult (20%) bone. The radioimmunoassay for rat MGP which was developed for these studies employs rabbit antibody directed against calf MGP and rat MGP for standards and radioiodinated tracer. This assay has a sensitivity of 0.1 ng and does not detect rat or calf BGP.

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