Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) is a 524,000-Da protein that is expressed at high levels in the territorial matrix of chondrocytes. The sequences of rat and bovine COMP indicate that it is a member of the thrombospondin gene family. In this study, we have cloned and sequenced human COMP. Phylogenetic analysis using progressive sequence alignment and two parsimony-based algorithms indicates that the COMP gene and a precursor of the thrombospondin-3 and -4 genes were produced by a gene duplication that occurred 750 million years ago. An interspecific backcross mapping panel has been used to map the murine COMP gene to the central region of mouse chromosome 8. Southern blot analysis of a somatic cell hybrid DNA panel and in situ hybridization to human metaphase chromosomes indicate that the human COMP gene is located on chromosome 19 in band p13.1. These data confirm and extend the known regions of homology between human and mouse chromosomes and establish that COMP, like thrombospondin-1, -2, -3, and -4, is present in the human and mouse genomes.
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