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Chondrocyte secreted CRTAC1: a glycosylated extracellular matrix molecule of human articular cartilage.

Steck E., Braeun J., Pelttari K., Kadel S., Kalbacher H., Richter W.

Cartilage acidic protein 1 (CRTAC1), a novel human marker which allowed discrimination of human chondrocytes from osteoblasts and mesenchymal stem cells in culture was so far studied only on the RNA-level. We here describe its genomic organisation and detect a new brain expressed (CRTAC1-B) isoform resulting from alternate last exon usage which is highly conserved in vertebrates. In humans, we identify an exon sharing process with the neighbouring tail-to-tail orientated gene leading to CRTAC1-A. This isoform is produced by cultured human chondrocytes, localized in the extracellular matrix of articular cartilage and its secretion can be stimulated by BMP4. Of five putative O-glycosylation motifs in the last exon of CRTAC1-A, the most C-terminal one is modified according to exposure of serial C-terminal deletion mutants to the O-glycosylation inhibitor Benzyl-alpha-GalNAc. Both isoforms contain four FG-GAP repeat domains and an RGD integrin binding motif, suggesting cell-cell or cell-matrix interaction potential. In summary, CRTAC1 acquired an alternate last exon from the tail-to-tail oriented neighbouring gene in humans resulting in the glycosylated isoform CRTAC1-A which represents a new extracellular matrix molecule of articular cartilage.

Matrix Biol. 26:30-41(2007) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]