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Matrix Biol. 1996 Dec;15(6):415-22.

Variability in the upstream promoter and intron sequences of the human, mouse and chick type X collagen genes.

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  • 1Institute for Experimental Medicine, University of Erlangen-N├╝rnberg, Germany.


The type X collagen gene is specifically expressed in hypertrophic chondrocytes during endochondral ossification. Transcription of the type X collagen gene by these differentiated cells is turned on at the same time as transcription of several other cartilage specific genes is switched off and before mineralization of the matrix begins. Analysis of type X collagen promoters for regulatory regions in different cell culture systems and in transgenic mice has given contradictory results suggesting major differences among species. To approach this problem, we have determined the nucleotide sequences of the two introns and upstream promoter sequences of the human and mouse type X collagen genes and compared them with those of bovine and chick. Within the promoter regions, we found three boxes of homology which are nearly continuous in the human gene but have interruptions in the murine gene. One of these interruptions was identified as a complex 1.9 kb repetitive element with homology to LINE, B1, B2 and long terminal repeat sequences. Regulatory elements of the human type X collagen gene are located upstream of the region where the repetitive element is inserted in the mouse gene, making it likely that the repetitive element is inserted between the coding region and regulatory sequences of the murine gene without interfering with its expression pattern. We also compared the sequences of the introns of both genes and found strong conservation. Comparisons of the mammalian sequences with promoter and first intron sequences of the chicken type X collagen gene revealed that only the proximal 120 nucleotides of the promoter were conserved, whereas all other sequences displayed no obvious homology to the murine and human sequences.

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