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J Biol Chem. 1998 Feb 20;273(8):4761-8.

Structurally abnormal type II collagen in a severe form of Kniest dysplasia caused by an exon 24 skipping mutation.

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  • 1Orthopaedic Research Laboratories, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-6500, USA.


Type II collagen mutations have been identified in a phenotypic continuum of chondrodysplasias that range widely in clinical severity. They include achondrogenesis type II, hypochondrogenesis, spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, spondyloepimetaphyseal dysplasia, Kniest dysplasia, and Stickler syndrome. We report here results that define the underlying genetic defect and consequent altered structure of assembled type II collagen in a neonatal lethal form of Kniest dysplasia. Electrophoresis of a cyanogen bromide (CNBr) (CB) digest of sternal cartilage revealed an alpha1(II)CB11 peptide doublet and a slightly retarded mobility for all major CB peptides, which implied post-translational overmodification. Further peptide mapping and sequence analysis of CB11 revealed equal amounts of a normal alpha1(II) sequence and a chain lacking the 18 residues (361-378 of the triple helical domain) corresponding to exon 24. Sequence analysis of an amplified genomic DNA fragment identified a G to A transition in the +5 position of the splice donor consensus sequence of intron 24 in one allele. Cartilage matrix analysis showed that the short alpha1(II) chain was present in collagen molecules that had become cross-linked into fibrils. Trypsin digestion of the pepsin-extracted native type II collagen selectively cleaved the normal length alpha1(II) chains within the exon 24 domain. These findings support a hypothesis that normal and short alpha-chains had combined to form heterotrimeric molecules in which the chains were in register in both directions from the deletion site, accommodated effectively by a loop out of the normal chain exon 24 domain. Such an accommodation, with potential overall shortening of the helical domain and hence misalignment of intermolecular relationships within fibrils, offers a common molecular mechanism by which a group of different mutations might act to produce the Kniest phenotype.

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