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FEBS Lett. 1996 Sep 16;393(2-3):307-13.

Mouse cathepsin K: cDNA cloning and predominant expression of the gene in osteoclasts, and in some hypertrophying chondrocytes during mouse development.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Turky, Finland.


We have constructed cDNA clones covering the entire coding region of mouse, human and rabbit preprocathepsin K mRNA for studies on bone turnover. The clone pMCatK-1 for mouse cathepsin K shares 87% nucleotide homology with the corresponding human and rabbit sequences. Analysis of a panel of mouse tissues for tissue distribution of cathepsin K mRNA revealed the highest levels in musculoskeletal tissues: bone, cartilage and skeletal muscle. In situ hybridization of developing mouse embryos was performed to identify the cellular source of cathepsin K mRNA. The strongest mRNA signal was detected in osteoclasts of bone, identified in serial sections by positive TRAP staining. Cathepsin K mRNA was also observed in some hypertrophic chondrocytes of growth cartilages. Association of cathepsin K production with degradation of bone and cartilage matrix suggests that this enzyme and its mRNA levels could serve as markers for matrix degradation in diseases affecting these tissues.

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