Chondrogenic activity of the heparan sulfate proteoglycan perlecan maps to the N-terminal domain I

Margaret M. French, Ronald R. Gomes, Rupert Timpl, Magnus Höök, Kirk Czymmek, Mary C. Farach-Carson, Daniel D. Carson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


C3H10T1/2 cells differentiate along a chondrogenic pathway when plated onto the extracellular matrix (ECM) protein perlecan (Pln). To identify the region(s) within the large Pln molecule that provides a differentiation signal, recombinant Pln-sequence-based polypeptides representing distinct structural domains were assayed for their ability to promote chondrogenesis in C3H10T1/2 cells. Five distinct domains, along with structural variations, were tested. The N-terminal domain I was tested in two forms (IA and IB) that contain only heparan sulfate (HS) chains or both HS and chondroitin sulfate (CS) chains, respectively. A mutant form of domain I lacking attachment sites for both HS and CS (Pln Imut) was tested also. Other constructs consecutively designated Pln domains II, III(A-C), IV(A,B), and V(A,B) were used to complete the structure-function analysis. Cells plated onto Pln IA or Pln IB but no other domain rapidly assembled into cellular aggregates of 40-120 μm on average. Aggregate formation was dependent on the presence of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains, because Pln I-based polypeptides lacking GAG chains either by enzymatic removal or mutation of HS/CS attachment sites were inactive. Aggregates formed on GAG-bearing Pln IA stained with Alcian Blue and were recognized by antibodies to collagen type II and aggrecan but were not recognized by an antibody to collagen type X, a marker of chondrocyte hypertrophy. Collectively, these studies indicate that the GAG-bearing domain I of Pln provides a sufficient signal to trigger C3H10T1/2 cells to enter a chondrogenic differentiation pathway. Thus, this matrix proteoglycan (PG) found at sites of cartilage formation in vivo is likely to enhance early stage differentiation induced by soluble chondrogenic factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-55
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Cartilage
  • Chondrogenesis
  • Perlecan
  • Proteoglycan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Chondrogenic activity of the heparan sulfate proteoglycan perlecan maps to the N-terminal domain I'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this