Acan | GeneID:11595 | Mus musculus
[ ] NCBI Entrez Gene
|Gene ID||11595||Official Symbol||Acan|
|Synonyms||Agc; Agc1; Cspg1; cmd|
|Chromosome||7 D3|7 39.0 cM|
|Also Known As||aggrecan 1|
Orthologs and Paralogs
|GeneID:403828||ACAN||XP_536187.1||Canis lupus familiaris|
[ ] Monoclonal and Polyclonal Antibodies
|GO:0005578||Component||proteinaceous extracellular matrix|
|GO:0005540||Function||hyaluronic acid binding|
|GO:0030199||Process||collagen fibril organization|
|GO:0030166||Process||proteoglycan biosynthetic process|
MicroRNA and Targets
[ ] MicroRNA Sequences and Transcript Targets from miRBase at Sanger
|RNA Target||miRNA #||mat miRNA||Mature miRNA Sequence|
- [ ] Retting KN, et al. (2009) "BMP canonical Smad signaling through Smad1 and Smad5 is required for endochondral bone formation." Development. 136(7):1093-1104. PMID:19224984
- [ ] Rokutanda S, et al. (2009) "Akt regulates skeletal development through GSK3, mTOR, and FoxOs." Dev Biol. 328(1):78-93. PMID:19389373
- [ ] Shibata S, et al. (2008) "An in situ hybridization study of Runx2, Osterix, and Sox9 in the anlagen of mouse mandibular condylar cartilage in the early stages of embryogenesis." J Anat. 213(3):274-283. PMID:18624832
- [ ] Shay EL, et al. (2008) "Dynamic expression patterns of ECM molecules in the developing mouse olfactory pathway." Dev Dyn. 237(7):1837-1850. PMID:18570250
- [ ] Sohaskey ML, et al. (2008) "JAWS coordinates chondrogenesis and synovial joint positioning." Development. 135(13):2215-2220. PMID:18539921
- [ ] Liu W, et al. (2008) "Coordinated molecular control of otic capsule differentiation: functional role of Wnt5a signaling and opposition by sfrp3 activity." Growth Factors. 26(6):343-354. PMID:18991062
- [ ] Han Y, et al. (2008) "L-Sox5 and Sox6 drive expression of the aggrecan gene in cartilage by securing binding of Sox9 to a far-upstream enhancer." Mol Cell Biol. 28(16):4999-5013. PMID:18559420
- [ ] Hwang CH, et al. (2008) "Noggin heterozygous mice: an animal model for congenital conductive hearing loss in humans." Hum Mol Genet. 17(6):844-853. PMID:18096605
- [ ] Snider P, et al. (2008) "Periostin is required for maturation and extracellular matrix stabilization of noncardiomyocyte lineages of the heart." Circ Res. 102(7):752-760. PMID:18296617
- [ ] Inoue H, et al. (2008) "High levels of serum IL-18 promote cartilage loss through suppression of aggrecan synthesis." Bone. 42(6):1102-1110. PMID:18374640
- [ ] Shinoda Y, et al. (2008) "Kruppel-like factor 5 causes cartilage degradation through transactivation of matrix metalloproteinase 9." J Biol Chem. 283(36):24682-24689. PMID:18617520
- [ ] Amarilio R, et al. (2007) "HIF1alpha regulation of Sox9 is necessary to maintain differentiation of hypoxic prechondrogenic cells during early skeletogenesis." Development. 134(21):3917-3928. PMID:17913788
- [ ] Haycraft CJ, et al. (2007) "Intraflagellar transport is essential for endochondral bone formation." Development. 134(2):307-316. PMID:17166921
- [ ] Sakai K, et al. (2007) "Chondroitin sulfate N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase-1 plays a critical role in chondroitin sulfate synthesis in cartilage." J Biol Chem. 282(6):4152-4161. PMID:17145758
- [ ] McRae PA, et al. (2007) "Sensory deprivation alters aggrecan and perineuronal net expression in the mouse barrel cortex." J Neurosci. 27(20):5405-5413. PMID:17507562
- [ ] Iwamoto M, et al. (2007) "Transcription factor ERG and joint and articular cartilage formation during mouse limb and spine skeletogenesis." Dev Biol. 305(1):40-51. PMID:17336282
- [ ] Little CB, et al. (2007) "Blocking aggrecanase cleavage in the aggrecan interglobular domain abrogates cartilage erosion and promotes cartilage repair." J Clin Invest. 117(6):1627-1636. PMID:17510707
- [ ] Hiraoka S, et al. (2007) "Nucleotide-sugar transporter SLC35D1 is critical to chondroitin sulfate synthesis in cartilage and skeletal development in mouse and human." Nat Med. 13(11):1363-1367. PMID:17952091
- [ ] Patra D, et al. (2007) "Site-1 protease is essential for endochondral bone formation in mice." J Cell Biol. 179(4):687-700. PMID:18025304
- [ ] Song B, et al. (2007) "Development of the post-natal growth plate requires intraflagellar transport proteins." Dev Biol. 305(1):202-216. PMID:17359961
- [ ] Costa C, et al. (2007) "Mapping of aggrecan, hyaluronic acid, heparan sulphate proteoglycans and aquaporin 4 in the central nervous system of the mouse." J Chem Neuroanat. 33(3):111-123. PMID:17349777
- [ ] Bok J, et al. (2007) "Role of hindbrain in inner ear morphogenesis: analysis of Noggin knockout mice." Dev Biol. 311(1):69-78. PMID:17900554
- [ ] Imai F, et al. (2006) "Inactivation of aPKClambda results in the loss of adherens junctions in neuroepithelial cells without affecting neurogenesis in mouse neocortex." Development. 133(9):1735-1744. PMID:16571631
- [ ] Ikeya M, et al. (2006) "Essential pro-Bmp roles of crossveinless 2 in mouse organogenesis." Development. 133(22):4463-4473. PMID:17035289
- [ ] Wang Y, et al. (2006) "Insulin-like growth factor-I is essential for embryonic bone development." Endocrinology. 147(10):4753-4761. PMID:16857753
- [ ] van der Weyden L, et al. (2006) "Functional knockout of the matrilin-3 gene causes premature chondrocyte maturation to hypertrophy and increases bone mineral density and osteoarthritis." Am J Pathol. 169(2):515-527. PMID:16877353
- [ ] Matsumoto K, et al. (2006) "Identification and characterization of versican/PG-M aggregates in cartilage." J Biol Chem. 281(26):18257-18263. PMID:16648631
- [ ] Barrionuevo F, et al. (2006) "Sox9 is required for notochord maintenance in mice." Dev Biol. 295(1):128-140. PMID:16678811
- [ ] Buzas EI, et al. (2005) "T-cell recognition of differentially tolerated epitopes of cartilage proteoglycan aggrecan in arthritis." Cell Immunol. 235(2):98-108. PMID:16185673
- [ ] Rhee DK, et al. (2005) "The secreted glycoprotein lubricin protects cartilage surfaces and inhibits synovial cell overgrowth." J Clin Invest. 115(3):622-631. PMID:15719068
- [ ] Kluppel M, et al. (2005) "Maintenance of chondroitin sulfation balance by chondroitin-4-sulfotransferase 1 is required for chondrocyte development and growth factor signaling during cartilage morphogenesis." Development. 132(17):3989-4003. PMID:16079159
- [ ] Carninci P, et al. (2005) "The transcriptional landscape of the mammalian genome." Science. 309(5740):1559-1563. PMID:16141072
- [ ] Lee NV, et al. (2005) "Fibulin-1 acts as a cofactor for the matrix metalloprotease ADAMTS-1." J Biol Chem. 280(41):34796-34804. PMID:16061471
- [ ] Katayama S, et al. (2005) "Antisense transcription in the mammalian transcriptome." Science. 309(5740):1564-1566. PMID:16141073
- [ ] Tamamura Y, et al. (2005) "Developmental regulation of Wnt/beta-catenin signals is required for growth plate assembly, cartilage integrity, and endochondral ossification." J Biol Chem. 280(19):19185-19195. PMID:15760903
- [ ] Yoon BS, et al. (2005) "Bmpr1a and Bmpr1b have overlapping functions and are essential for chondrogenesis in vivo." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 102(14):5062-5067. PMID:15781876
- [ ] McGlinn E, et al. (2005) "Pax9 and Jagged1 act downstream of Gli3 in vertebrate limb development." Mech Dev. 122(11):1218-1233. PMID:16169709
- [ ] Little CB, et al. (2005) "Matrix metalloproteinases are not essential for aggrecan turnover during normal skeletal growth and development." Mol Cell Biol. 25(8):3388-3399. PMID:15798221
- [ ] Ko Y, et al. (2004) "Matrilin-3 is dispensable for mouse skeletal growth and development." Mol Cell Biol. 24(4):1691-1699. PMID:14749384
- [ ] Yeh LC, et al. (2004) "Identification of an osteogenic protein-1 responsive element in the aggrecan promoter." Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 323(1):223-228. PMID:15351725
- [ ] Smits P, et al. (2004) "Sox5 and Sox6 are needed to develop and maintain source, columnar, and hypertrophic chondrocytes in the cartilage growth plate." J Cell Biol. 164(5):747-758. PMID:14993235
- [ ] Mates L, et al. (2004) "Mice lacking the extracellular matrix adaptor protein matrilin-2 develop without obvious abnormalities." Matrix Biol. 23(3):195-204. PMID:15296947
- [ ] Ficker M, et al. (2004) "Analysis of genes from inner ear developmental-stage cDNA subtraction reveals molecular regionalization of the otic capsule." Dev Biol. 268(1):7-23. PMID:15031101
- [ ] Savontaus M, et al. (2004) "Abnormal craniofacial development and expression patterns of extracellular matrix components in transgenic Del1 mice harboring a deletion mutation in the type II collagen gene." Orthod Craniofac Res. 7(4):216-226. PMID:15562585
- [ ] Hikake T, et al. (2003) "Comparison of expression patterns between CREB family transcription factor OASIS and proteoglycan core protein genes during murine tooth development." Anat Embryol (Berl). 206(5):373-380. PMID:12684764
- [ ] Smits P, et al. (2003) "Sox5 and Sox6 are required for notochord extracellular matrix sheath formation, notochord cell survival and development of the nucleus pulposus of intervertebral discs." Development. 130(6):1135-1148. PMID:12571105
- [ ] Ivkovic S, et al. (2003) "Connective tissue growth factor coordinates chondrogenesis and angiogenesis during skeletal development." Development. 130(12):2779-2791. PMID:12736220
- [ ] Puttaparthi K, et al. (2003) "Aggregate formation in the spinal cord of mutant SOD1 transgenic mice is reversible and mediated by proteasomes." J Neurochem. 87(4):851-860. PMID:14622116
- [ ] Shibata S, et al. (2003) "In situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry of versican, aggrecan and link protein, and histochemistry of hyaluronan in the developing mouse limb bud cartilage." J Anat. 203(4):425-432. PMID:14620382
Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling is required for endochondral bone formation. However, whether or not the effects of BMPs are mediated via canonical Smad pathways or through noncanonical pathways is unknown. In this study we have determined the role of receptor Smads 1, 5 and 8 in chondrogenesis. Deletion of individual Smads results in viable and fertile mice. Combined loss of Smads 1, 5 and 8, however, results in severe chondrodysplasia. Smad1/5(CKO) (cartilage-specific knockout) mutant mice are nearly identical to Smad1/5(CKO);Smad8(-/-) mutants, indicating that Smads 1 and 5 have overlapping functions and are more important than Smad8 in cartilage. The Smad1/5(CKO) phenotype is more severe than that of Smad4(CKO) mice, challenging the dogma, at least in chondrocytes, that Smad4 is required to mediate Smad signaling through BMP pathways. The chondrodysplasia in Smad1/5(CKO) mice is accompanied by imbalances in cross-talk between the BMP, FGF and Ihh/PTHrP pathways. We show that Ihh is a direct target of BMP pathways in chondrocytes, and that FGF exerts antagonistic effects on Ihh expression. Finally, we tested whether FGF exerts its antagonistic effects directly through Smad linker phosphorylation. The results support the alternative conclusion that the effects of FGFs on BMP signaling are indirect in vivo.
Although Akt plays key roles in various cellular processes, the functions of Akt and Akt downstream signaling pathways in the cellular processes of skeletal development remain to be clarified. By analyzing transgenic embryos that expressed constitutively active Akt (myrAkt) or dominant-negative Akt in chondrocytes, we found that Akt positively regulated the four processes of chondrocyte maturation, chondrocyte proliferation, cartilage matrix production, and cell growth in skeletal development. As phosphorylation of GSK3beta, S6K, and FoxO3a was enhanced in the growth plates of myrAkt transgenic mice, we examined the Akt downstream signaling pathways by organ culture. The Akt-mTOR pathway was responsible for positive regulation of the four cellular processes. The Akt-FoxO pathway enhanced chondrocyte proliferation but inhibited chondrocyte maturation and cartilage matrix production, while the Akt-GSK3 pathway negatively regulated three of the cellular processes in limb skeletons but not in vertebrae due to less GSK3 expression in vertebrae. These findings indicate that Akt positively regulates the cellular processes of skeletal growth and endochondral ossification, that the Akt-mTOR, Akt-FoxO, and Akt-GSK3 pathways positively or negatively regulate the cellular processes, and that Akt exerts its function in skeletal development by tuning the three pathways in a manner dependent on the skeletal part.
Mandibular condylar cartilage is the best-studied mammalian secondary cartilage, differing from primary cartilage in that it originates from alkaline phosphatase-positive progenitor cells. We previously demonstrated that three transcription factors related to bone and cartilage formation, namely Runx2, Osterix and Sox9, are simultaneously expressed in the anlage of mandibular condylar cartilage (condylar anlage) at embryonic day (E)14. In this study, expression of these transcription factors was investigated in the anlagen of mandibular bone (mandibular anlagen) from E11.0 to 14.0. Runx2 mRNA was first expressed in the mandibular anlage at E11.5. Osterix mRNA was first expressed at E12.0, and showed a different expression pattern from that of Runx2 from E12.5 to E14.0, confirming that Osterix acts downstream of Runx2. Sox9 mRNA was expressed in Meckel's cartilage and its anlagen throughout the experimental period, but not clearly in the mandibular anlagen until E13.0. At E13.5, the condylar anlage was morphologically identified at the posterior end of the mandibular anlage, and enhanced Sox9 mRNA expression was detected here. At this stage, Runx2 and Osterix mRNA were simultaneously detected in the condylar anlage. These results indicate that the Sox9 mRNA-expressing condylar anlage is derived from Runx2/Osterix mRNA-expressing mandibular anlage, and that upregulation of Sox9 in this region acts as a trigger for subsequent condylar cartilage formation.
Olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) axons follow stereotypic spatio-temporal paths in the establishment of the olfactory pathway. Extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules are expressed early in the developing pathway and are proposed to have a role in its initial establishment. During later embryonic development, OSNs sort out and target specific glomeruli to form precise, complex topographic projections. We hypothesized that ECM cues may help to establish this complex topography. The aim of this study was to characterize expression of ECM molecules during the period of glomerulogenesis, when synaptic contacts are forming. We examined expression of laminin-1, perlecan, tenascin-C, and CSPGs and found a coordinated pattern of expression of these cues in the pathway. These appear to restrict axons to the pathway while promoting axon outgrowth within. Thus, ECM molecules are present in dynamic spatio-temporal positions to affect OSN axons as they navigate to the olfactory bulb and establish synapses.
Properly positioned synovial joints are crucial to coordinated skeletal movement. Despite their importance for skeletal development and function, the molecular mechanisms that underlie joint positioning are not well understood. We show that mice carrying an insertional mutation in a previously uncharacterized gene, which we have named Jaws (joints abnormal with splitting), die perinatally with striking skeletal defects, including ectopic interphalangeal joints. These ectopic joints develop along the longitudinal axis and persist at birth, suggesting that JAWS is uniquely required for the orientation and consequent positioning of interphalangeal joints within the endochondral skeleton. Jaws mutant mice also exhibit severe chondrodysplasia characterized by delayed and disorganized maturation of growth plate chondrocytes, together with impaired chondroitin sulfation and abnormal metabolism of the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan aggrecan. Our findings identify JAWS as a key regulator of chondrogenesis and synovial joint positioning required for the restriction of joint formation to discrete stereotyped locations in the embryonic skeleton.
Wnt proteins constitute one of the major families of secreted ligands that function in developmental signaling, however, little is known of the role of Wnt5a during inner ear development. It is hypothesized that Wnt5a acts as a mediator of chondrogenesis in the developing otic capsule, a cartilaginous structure that surrounds the developing inner ear and presages the formation of the endochondral bony labyrinth. We report the pattern of expression of Wnt5a protein and mRNA in the developing mouse inner ear using immunohistochemistry, whole-mount in situ hybridization and RT-PCR, and the ability of exogenous Wnt5a to stimulate otic capsule chondrogenesis when added to high-density cultures of periotic mesenchyme containing otic epithelium (periotic mesenchyme + otic epithelium), a well-established model of otic capsule formation. We show that in the presence of secreted frizzled related protein 3 (sfrp3), a Wnt antagonist expressed in the developing inner ear, or Wnt5a-specific antisense oligonucleotide, which diminishes endogenous Wnt5a, otic capsule chondrogenesis is suppressed in culture. We determined by histological analysis and aggrecan immunoreactivity that chondrogenic differentiation is disturbed in Wnt5a null embryos, and provide evidence that the periotic mesenchyme + otic epithelium harvested from Wnt5a null mice is compromised in its ability to differentiate into cartilage when interacted in culture. We propose a model whereby sfrp3 and Wnt5a act antagonistically to ensure appropriate patterns of chondrogenesis and provide coordinated control of otic capsule formation. Our findings support Wnt5a and sfrp3 as regulators of otic capsule formation in the developing mouse inner ear.
The Sry-related high-mobility-group box transcription factor Sox9 recruits the redundant L-Sox5 and Sox6 proteins to effect chondrogenesis, but the mode of action of the trio remains unclear. We identify here a highly conserved 359-bp sequence 10 kb upstream of the Agc1 gene for aggrecan, a most essential cartilage proteoglycan and key marker of chondrocyte differentiation. This sequence directs expression of a minimal promoter in both embryonic and adult cartilage in transgenic mice, in a manner that matches Agc1 expression. The chondrogenic trio is required and sufficient to mediate the activity of this enhancer. It acts directly, Sox9 binding to a critical cis-acting element and L-Sox5/Sox6 binding to three additional elements, which are cooperatively needed. Upon binding to their specific sites, L-Sox5/Sox6 increases the efficiency of Sox9 binding to its own recognition site and thereby robustly potentiates the ability of Sox9 to activate the enhancer. L-Sox5/Sox6 similarly secures Sox9 binding to Col2a1 (encoding collagen-2) and other cartilage-specific enhancers. This study thus uncovers critical cis-acting elements and transcription factors driving Agc1 expression in cartilage and increases understanding of the mode of action of the chondrogenic Sox trio.
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves are not relayed efficiently to the inner ear. Mutations of the NOGGIN (NOG) gene in humans are associated with several autosomal dominant disorders such as proximal symphalangism and multiple synostoses. These syndromes are characterized by skeletal defects and synostoses, which include conductive hearing loss. Noggin is an antagonist of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), and balanced levels of BMPs and Noggin are required for proper skeletal formation. Depending on the genetic background, some of the Nog(+/-) mice display mild hearing loss, that is, conductive in nature. Since Noggin is a single exon gene, this data strongly suggest that the autosomal dominant disorders associated with NOG mutations are due to haploinsufficiency of NOGGIN. The conductive hearing loss in Nog(+/-) mice is caused by an ectopic bone bridge located between the stapes and the posterior wall of the tympanum, which affects the normal mobility of the ossicle. Our analyses suggest that the ectopic bone formation is caused by a failure of the stapes and styloid process to separate completely during development. This failure of bone separation in the Nog(+/-) mice reveals another consequence of chondrocyte hyperplasia due to unopposed Bmp activities in these mutants such as Bmp4 and Bmp14 (Gdf5). More importantly, these results establish Nog(+/-) mice as the first animal model for the study of conductive rather than neurosensory hearing loss that has direct relevance to human genetic disorders.
The secreted periostin protein, which marks mesenchymal cells in endocardial cushions following epithelial-mesenchymal transformation and in mature valves following remodeling, is a putative valvulogenesis target molecule. Indeed, periostin is expressed throughout cardiovascular morphogenesis and in all 4 adult mice valves (annulus and leaflets). Additionally, periostin is expressed throughout the fibrous cardiac skeleton and endocardial cushions in the developing heart but is absent from both normal and/or pathological mouse cardiomyocytes. Periostin (peri(lacZ)) knockout mice exhibit viable valve disease, with neonatal lethality in a minority and latent disease with leaflet abnormalities in the viable majority. Surviving peri(lacZ)-null leaflets are truncated, contain ectopic cardiomyocytes and smooth muscle, misexpress the cartilage proteoglycan aggrecan, demonstrate disorganized matrix stratification, and exhibit reduced transforming growth factor-beta signaling. Neonatal peri(lacZ) nulls that die (14%) display additional defects, including leaflet discontinuities, delamination defects, and deposition of acellular extracellular matrix. Assessment of collagen production, 3D lattice formation ability, and transforming growth factor-beta responsiveness indicate periostin-deficient fibroblasts are unable to support normal valvular remodeling and establishment of a mature cardiac skeleton. Furthermore, pediatric stenotic bicuspid aortic valves that have lost normal extracellular matrix trilaminar stratification have greatly reduced periostin. This suggests that loss of periostin results in inappropriate differentiation of mesenchymal cushion cells and valvular abnormalities via a transforming growth factor-beta-dependent pathway during establishment of the mature heart. Thus, peri(lacZ) knockouts provide a new model of viable latent valve disease.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is closely related to the function of several inflammatory cytokines. It has been reported that older age is associated with higher serum levels of the inflammatory cytokine IL-18. In the present study, we investigated the long-term role of serum IL-18 in cartilage loss in vivo using a new strain of IL-18 transgenic mouse (Tg) in comparison with wild-type (WT) mice. The IL-18 Tg mouse strain we developed constitutively overproduces soluble mature IL-18 in the lungs but not in other tissues, including joints. These Tg mice showed high levels of serum IL-18, but not IL-1beta. No inflammatory cells, fibrillation or synovitis were observed in the knee joints of either IL-18 Tg or WT mice. However, the cartilage cellularity of the femoral and tibial condyles of IL-18 Tg mice was significantly reduced in comparison with control WT mice. Aggrecan was detected in only a few cells in the deep zone of the articular cartilage of Tg mice. The expression of aggrecan mRNA was also significantly decreased in articular chondrocytes from Tg mice when compared with WT mice. In contrast, endogenous IL-18 mRNA was significantly increased in the chondrocytes of Tg mice in comparison with WT mice. Expression of IFN-gamma was also significantly increased in the Tg mice. Moreover, IL-18 transgene-positive caspase-1-deficient mice showed articular cartilage loss that was independent of endogenous IL-1beta. In cultured chondrocytes isolated from WT mice, the expression of aggrecan mRNA was dosage-dependently suppressed by treatment with recombinant IL-18. In contrast, IL-18 stimulated the expression of mRNA for endogenous IL-18 and IFN-gamma. These results suggest that high levels of serum IL-18 promote the overexpression of endogenous IL-18 in articular chondrocytes, resulting in cartilage loss through suppression of aggrecan synthesis. Thus IL-18 may play an important role in the pathogenesis of articular cartilage loss in osteoarthritis.
Although degradation of cartilage matrix has been suggested to be a rate-limiting step for endochondral ossification during skeletal development, little is known about the transcriptional regulation. This study investigated the involvement of KLF5 (Kruppel-like factor 5), an Sp/KLF family member, in the skeletal development. KLF5 was expressed in chondrocytes and osteoblasts but not in osteoclasts. The heterozygous deficient (KLF5+/-) mice exhibited skeletal growth retardation in the perinatal period. Although chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation were normal, cartilage matrix degradation was impaired in KLF5+/- mice, causing delay in replacement of cartilage with bone at the primary ossification center in the embryonic limbs and elongation of hypertrophic chondrocyte layer in the neonatal growth plates. Microarray analyses identified MMP9 (matrix metalloproteinase 9) as a transcriptional target, since it was strongly up-regulated by adenoviral transfection of KLF5 in chondrogenic cell line OUMS27. The KLF5 overexpression caused gelatin degradation by stimulating promoter activity of MMP9 without affecting chondrocyte differentiation or vascular endothelial growth factor expression in the culture of chondrogenic cells; however, in osteoclast precursors, it affected neither MMP9 expression nor osteoclastic differentiation. KLF5 dysfunction by genetic heterodeficiency or RNA interference was confirmed to cause reduction of MMP9 expression in cultured chondrogenic cells. MMP9 expression was decreased in the limbs of KLF5+/- embryos, which was correlated with suppression of matrix degradation, calcification, and vascularization. We conclude that KLF5 causes cartilage matrix degradation through transcriptional induction of MMP9, providing the first evidence that transcriptional regulation of a proteinase contributes to endochondral ossification and skeletal development.
During early stages of limb development, the vasculature is subjected to extensive remodeling that leaves the prechondrogenic condensation avascular and, as we demonstrate hereafter, hypoxic. Numerous studies on a variety of cell types have reported that hypoxia has an inhibitory effect on cell differentiation. In order to investigate the mechanism that supports chondrocyte differentiation under hypoxic conditions, we inactivated the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha (HIF1alpha) in mouse limb bud mesenchyme. Developmental analysis of Hif1alpha-depleted limbs revealed abnormal cartilage and joint formation in the autopod, suggesting that HIF1alpha is part of a mechanism that regulates the differentiation of hypoxic prechondrogenic cells. Dramatically reduced cartilage formation in Hif1alpha-depleted micromass culture cells under hypoxia provided further support for the regulatory role of HIF1alpha in chondrogenesis. Reduced expression of Sox9, a key regulator of chondrocyte differentiation, followed by reduction of Sox6, collagen type II and aggrecan in Hif1alpha-depleted limbs raised the possibility that HIF1alpha regulation of Sox9 is necessary under hypoxic conditions for differentiation of prechondrogenic cells to chondrocytes. To study this possibility, we targeted Hif1alpha expression in micromass cultures. Under hypoxic conditions, Sox9 expression was increased twofold relative to its expression in normoxic condition; this increment was lost in the Hif1alpha-depleted cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation demonstrated direct binding of HIF1alpha to the Sox9 promoter, thus supporting direct regulation of HIF1alpha on Sox9 expression. This work establishes for the first time HIF1alpha as a key component in the genetic program that regulates chondrogenesis by regulating Sox9 expression in hypoxic prechondrogenic cells.
While cilia are present on most cells in the mammalian body, their functional importance has only recently been discovered. Cilia formation requires intraflagellar transport (IFT), and mutations disrupting the IFT process result in loss of cilia and mid-gestation lethality with developmental defects that include polydactyly and abnormal neural tube patterning. The early lethality in IFT mutants has hindered research efforts to study the role of this organelle at later developmental stages. Thus, to investigate the role of cilia during limb development, we generated a conditional allele of the IFT protein Ift88 (polaris). Using the Cre-lox system, we disrupted cilia on different cell populations within the developing limb. While deleting cilia in regions of the limb ectoderm had no overt effect on patterning, disruption in the mesenchyme resulted in extensive polydactyly with loss of anteroposterior digit patterning and shortening of the proximodistal axis. The digit patterning abnormalities were associated with aberrant Shh pathway activity, whereas defects in limb outgrowth were due in part to disruption of Ihh signaling during endochondral bone formation. In addition, the limbs of mesenchymal cilia mutants have ectopic domains of cells that resemble chondrocytes derived from the perichondrium, which is not typical of Indian hedgehog mutants. Overall these data provide evidence that IFT is essential for normal formation of the appendicular skeleton through disruption of multiple signaling pathways.
Cartilage destruction leads to severe joint diseases, such as osteoarthritis and spinal disorders with back pain, and cartilage regeneration is very inefficient. A major component of the cartilage extracellular matrix is the proteoglycan aggrecan that contains approximately 100 chondroitin sulfate (CS) chains, which impart water absorption and resistance to compression. Here, we demonstrate that chondroitin sulfate N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase-1 (CSGalNAcT-1) plays a critical role in CS biosynthesis in cartilage. By in situ hybridization and real time reverse transcription-PCR of developing cartilage, CSGalNAcT-1 exhibited the highest level of expression. Its expression in chondrogenic ATDC5 cells correlated well with that of aggrecan core protein. In heterozygote and homozygote aggrecan-null cartilage where aggrecan transcription is decreased, CSGalNAcT-1 transcription diminished accordingly. Overexpression of the enzyme in chondrocytic cells further enhanced CS biosynthesis but not that of the aggrecan core protein, indicating that the enzyme activity is not saturated in the cells and that aggrecan synthesized in the overexpressing cells is heavier than the native molecule. Analysis of the CS chains synthesized in the overexpressing cells by gel chromatography and that of disaccharide composition revealed that the CS chains had similar length and sulfation patterns. Furthermore, adenoviral gene delivery of the enzyme into intervertebral discs displayed a substantial increase in the level of CS biosynthesis. These observations indicate that CSGalNAcT-1 overexpression increases the number of CS chains attached to aggrecan core protein. Our studies may lead to a new therapeutic intervention, ameliorating the outcome of cartilage degenerative diseases.
An important role for the neural extracellular matrix in modulating cortical activity-dependent synaptic plasticity has been established by a number of recent studies. However, identification of the critical molecular components of the neural matrix that mediate these processes is far from complete. Of particular interest is the perineuronal net (PN), an extracellular matrix component found surrounding the cell body and proximal neurites of a subset of neurons. Because of the apposition of the PN to synapses and expression of this structure coincident with the close of the critical period, it has been hypothesized that nets could play uniquely important roles in synapse stabilization and maturation. Interestingly, previous work has also shown that expression of PNs is dependent on appropriate sensory stimulation in the visual system. Here, we investigated whether PNs in the mouse barrel cortex are expressed in an activity-dependent manner by manipulating sensory input through whisker trimming. Importantly, this manipulation did not lead to a global loss of PNs but instead led to a specific decrease in PNs, detected with the antibody Cat-315, in layer IV of the barrel cortex. In addition, we identified a key activity-regulated component of PNs is the proteoglycan aggrecan. We also demonstrate that these Cat-315-positive neurons virtually all also express parvalbumin. Together, these data are in support of an important role for aggrecan in the activity-dependent formation of PNs on parvalbumin-expressing cells and suggest a role for expression of these nets in regulating the close of the critical period.
Articular cartilage and synovial joints are critical for skeletal function, but the mechanisms regulating their development are largely unknown. In previous studies we found that the ets transcription factor ERG and its alternatively-spliced variant C-1-1 have roles in joint formation in chick. Here, we extended our studies to mouse. We found that ERG is also expressed in developing mouse limb joints. To test regulation of ERG expression, beads coated with the joint master regulator protein GDF-5 were implanted close to incipient joints in mouse limb explants; this led to rapid and strong ectopic ERG expression. We cloned and characterized several mammalian ERG variants and expressed a human C-1-1 counterpart (hERG3Delta81) throughout the cartilaginous skeleton of transgenic mice, using Col2a1 gene promoter/enhancer sequences. The skeletal phenotype was severe and neonatal lethal, and the transgenic mice were smaller than wild type littermates and their skeletons were largely cartilaginous. Limb long bone anlagen were entirely composed of chondrocytes actively expressing collagen IX and aggrecan as well as articular markers such as tenascin-C. Typical growth plates were absent and there was very low expression of maturation and hypertrophy markers, including Indian hedgehog, collagen X and MMP-13. The results suggest that ERG is part of molecular mechanisms leading chondrocytes into a permanent developmental path and become joint forming cells, and may do so by acting downstream of GDF-5.
Aggrecan loss from cartilage in arthritis is mediated by aggrecanases. Aggrecanases cleave aggrecan preferentially in the chondroitin sulfate-2 (CS-2) domain and secondarily at the E(373) downward arrow(374)A bond in the interglobular domain (IGD). However, IGD cleavage may be more deleterious for cartilage biomechanics because it releases the entire CS-containing portion of aggrecan. Recent studies identifying aggrecanase-2 (ADAMTS-5) as the predominant aggrecanase in mouse cartilage have not distinguished aggrecanolysis in the IGD from aggrecanolysis in the CS-2 domain. We generated aggrecan knockin mice with a mutation that rendered only the IGD resistant to aggrecanases in order to assess the contribution of this specific cleavage to cartilage pathology. The knockin mice were viable and fertile. Aggrecanase cleavage in the aggrecan IGD was not detected in knockin mouse cartilage in situ nor following digestion with ADAMTS-5 or treatment of cartilage explant cultures with IL-1 alpha. Blocking cleavage in the IGD not only diminished aggrecan loss and cartilage erosion in surgically induced osteoarthritis and a model of inflammatory arthritis, but appeared to stimulate cartilage repair following acute inflammation. We conclude that blocking aggrecanolysis in the aggrecan IGD alone protects against cartilage erosion and may potentiate cartilage repair.
Proteoglycans are a family of extracellular macromolecules comprised of glycosaminoglycan chains of a repeated disaccharide linked to a central core protein. Proteoglycans have critical roles in chondrogenesis and skeletal development. The glycosaminoglycan chains found in cartilage proteoglycans are primarily composed of chondroitin sulfate. The integrity of chondroitin sulfate chains is important to cartilage proteoglycan function; however, chondroitin sulfate metabolism in mammals remains poorly understood. The solute carrier-35 D1 (SLC35D1) gene (SLC35D1) encodes an endoplasmic reticulum nucleotide-sugar transporter (NST) that might transport substrates needed for chondroitin sulfate biosynthesis. Here we created Slc35d1-deficient mice that develop a lethal form of skeletal dysplasia with severe shortening of limbs and facial structures. Epiphyseal cartilage in homozygous mutant mice showed a decreased proliferating zone with round chondrocytes, scarce matrices and reduced proteoglycan aggregates. These mice had short, sparse chondroitin sulfate chains caused by a defect in chondroitin sulfate biosynthesis. We also identified that loss-of-function mutations in human SLC35D1 cause Schneckenbecken dysplasia, a severe skeletal dysplasia. Our findings highlight the crucial role of NSTs in proteoglycan function and cartilage metabolism, thus revealing a new paradigm for skeletal disease and glycobiology.
Site-1 protease (S1P) has an essential function in the conversion of latent, membrane-bound transcription factors to their free, active form. In mammals, abundant expression of S1P in chondrocytes suggests an involvement in chondrocyte function. To determine the requirement of S1P in cartilage and bone development, we have created cartilage-specific S1P knockout mice (S1P(cko)). S1P(cko) mice exhibit chondrodysplasia and a complete lack of endochondral ossification even though Runx2 expression, Indian hedgehog signaling, and osteoblastogenesis is intact. However, there is a substantial increase in chondrocyte apoptosis in the cartilage of S1P(cko) mice. Extraction of type II collagen is substantially lower from S1P(cko) cartilage. In S1P(cko) mice, the collagen network is disorganized and collagen becomes entrapped in chondrocytes. Ultrastructural analysis reveals that the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in S1P(cko) chondrocytes is engorged and fragmented in a manner characteristic of severe ER stress. These data suggest that S1P activity is necessary for a specialized ER stress response required by chondrocytes for the genesis of normal cartilage and thus endochondral ossification.
In the post-natal growth plate, chondrocytes are arranged in columns parallel to the long axis of the bone. Chondrocytes divide perpendicular to this axis and then move into position one on top of another in a process called "rotation" that maintains columnar organization. Primary cilia are non-motile microtubule base appendages extending from the surface of almost all vertebrate cells. Primary cilia were described on chondrocytes almost 40 years ago but the function of these structures in cartilage biology is not known. Intraflagellar transport (IFT) is the process by which primary cilia are generated and maintained. This study tested the hypothesis that IFT plays an important role in post-natal skeletal development. Kif3a, a subunit of the Kinesin II motor complex, that is required for intraflagellar transport and the formation of cilia, was deleted in mouse chondrocytes via Col2a-Cre-mediated recombination. Disruption of IFT resulted in subsequent depletion of cilia and post-natal dwarfism due to premature loss of the growth plate likely a result of reduced proliferation and accelerated hypertrophic differentiation of chondrocytes. Cell shape and columnar orientation in the growth plate were also disrupted suggesting a defect in the process of rotation. Alterations in chondrocyte rotation were accompanied by disruption of the actin cytoskeleton and alterations in the localization of activated FAK to focal adhesion-like structures on chondrocytes. This is the first report indicating a role for IFT and primary cilia in the development of the post-natal growth plate. The results suggest a model in which IFT/cilia act to maintain the columnar organization of the growth plate via the process of chondrocyte rotation.
The extracellular matrix (ECM) of the central nervous system (CNS) is found dispersed in the neuropil or forming aggregates around the neurons called perineuronal nets (PNNs). The ECM mainly contains chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans (CSPG), hyaluronic acid (HA) and tenascin-R. Heparan sulphate proteoglycans (HSPG) can also be secreted in the ECM or be part of the cell membrane. The ECM has a heterogeneous distribution which has been linked to several functions, such as specific regional maintenance of hydrodynamic properties in the CNS, in which aquaporins (AQP) play an important role. AQP are a family of membrane proteins which acts as a water channel and AQP4 is the most abundant isoform in the brain. Nevertheless the importance of these proteins, their distribution and correlation in the whole CNS of mice is only partially known. In the present study, the histochemical and immunohistochemical distribution of PNNs, using Wisteria floribunda agglutinin (WFA), aggrecan, HA, HSPGs and AQP4 is described, and their perineuronal and neuropil staining has been semi-quantitatively evaluated in the whole CNS of mice. The results showed that the aggrecan, HA and HSPGs perineuronal distribution coincided partially and this could be related to ECM functional properties. AQP4 showed a heterogeneous distribution throughout the CNS. In some areas, an inverse correlation between AQP4 and ECM components has been observed, suggesting a complementary role for both in the maintenance of water homeostasis. A common location for AQP4 and HSPGs has also been observed in CNS neuropil.
Signaling from rhombomeres 5 and 6 of the hindbrain is thought to be important for inner ear patterning. In Noggin -/- embryos, the gross anatomy of the inner ear is distorted and malformed, with cochlear duct outgrowth and coiling most affected. We attributed these defects to a caudal shift of the rhombomeres caused by the shortened body axis and the kink in the neural tube. To test the hypothesis that a caudal shift of the rhombomeres affects inner ear development, we surgically generated chicken embryos in which rhombomeres 5 and 6 were similarly shifted relative to the position of the inner ears, as in Noggin mutants. All chicken embryos with shifted rhombomeres showed defects in cochlear duct formation indicating that signaling from rhombomeres 5 and 6 is important for cochlear duct patterning in both chicken and mice. In addition, the size of the otic capsule is increased in Noggin -/- mutants, which most likely is due to unopposed BMP signaling for chondrogenesis in the peri-otic mesenchyme.
In developing mammalian telencephalon, the loss of adherens junctions and cell cycle exit represent crucial steps in the differentiation of neuroepithelial cells into neurons, but the relationship between these cellular events remains obscure. Atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) is known to contribute to junction formation in epithelial cells and to cell fate determination for Drosophila neuroblasts. To elucidate the functions of aPKClambda, one out of two aPKC members, in mouse neocortical neurogenesis, a Nestin-Cre mediated conditional gene targeting system was employed. In conditional aPKClambda knockout mice, neuroepithelial cells of the neocortical region lost aPKClambda protein at embryonic day 15 and demonstrated a loss of adherens junctions, retraction of apical processes and impaired interkinetic nuclear migration that resulted in disordered neuroepithelial tissue architecture. These results are evidence that aPKClambda is indispensable for the maintenance of adherens junctions and may function in the regulation of adherens junction integrity upon differentiation of neuroepithelial cells into neurons. In spite of the loss of adherens junctions in the neuroepithelium of conditional aPKClambda knockout mice, neurons were produced at a normal rate. Therefore, we concluded that, at least in the later stages of neurogenesis, regulation of cell cycle exit is independent of adherens junctions.
We here report essential roles of the Bmp-binding protein crossveinless 2 (Cv2; Bmper) in mouse organogenesis. In the null Cv2 mutant mouse, gastrulation occurs normally, but a number of defects are found in Cv2-expressing tissues such as the skeleton. Cartilage differentiation by Bmp4 treatment is reduced in cultured Cv2(-/-) fibroblasts. Moreover, the defects in the vertebral column and eyes of the Cv2(-/-) mouse are substantially enhanced by deleting one copy of the Bmp4 gene, suggesting a pro-Bmp role of Cv2 in the development of these organs. In addition, the Cv2(-/-) mutant exhibits substantial defects in Bmp-dependent processes of internal organ formation, such as nephron generation in the kidney. This kidney hypoplasia is synergistically enhanced by the additional deletion of Kcp (Crim2) which encodes a pro-Bmp protein structurally related to Cv2. This study demonstrates essential pro-Bmp functions of Cv2 for locally restricted signal enhancement in multiple aspects of mammalian organogenesis.
Although IGF-I has been identified as an important growth factor for the skeleton, the role of IGF-I on embryonic bone development remains unknown. Here we show that, in IGF-I-deficient (IGF-I(-/-)) mice, skeletal malformations, including short-limbed dwarfism, were evident at days post coitus (dpc) 14.5 to 18.5, accompanied by delays of mineralization in the spinal column, sternum, and fore paws. Reduced chondrocyte proliferation and increased chondrocyte apoptosis were identified in both the spinal ossification center and the growth plate of long bones. Abnormal chondrocyte differentiation and delayed initiation of mineralization was characterized by small size and fewer numbers of type X collagen expressing hypertrophic chondrocytes and lower osteocalcin expression. The Indian hedgehog-PTHrP feedback loop was altered; expression of Indian hedgehog was reduced in IGF-I(-/-) mice in long bones and in the spine, whereas expression of PTHrP was increased. Our results indicate that IGF-I plays an important role in skeletal development by promoting chondrocyte proliferation and maturation while inhibiting apoptosis to form bones of appropriate size and strength.
Mutations in the gene encoding matrilin-3 (MATN3), a noncollagenous extracellular matrix protein, have been reported in a variety of skeletal diseases, including multiple epiphyseal dysplasia, which is characterized by irregular ossification of the epiphyses and early-onset osteoarthritis, spondylo-epimetaphyseal dysplasia, and idiopathic hand osteoarthritis. To assess the role of matrilin-3 in the pathogenesis of these diseases, we generated Matn3 functional knockout mice using embryonic stem cell technology. In the embryonic growth plate of the developing long bones, Matn3 null chondrocytes prematurely became prehypertrophic and hypertrophic, forming an expanded zone of hypertrophy. This expansion was attenuated during the perinatal period, and Matn3 homozygous null mice were viable and showed no gross skeletal malformations at birth. However, by 18 weeks of age, Matn3 null mice had a significantly higher total body bone mineral density than Matn1 null mice or wild-type littermates. Aged Matn3 null mice were much more predisposed to develop severe osteoarthritis than their wild-type littermates. Here, we show that matrilin-3 plays a role in modulating chondrocyte differentiation during embryonic development, in controlling bone mineral density in adulthood, and in preventing osteoarthritis during aging. The lack of Matn3 does not lead to postnatal chondrodysplasia but accounts for higher incidence of osteoarthritis.
Versican/PG-M is a large chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan of the extracellular matrix with a common domain structure to aggrecan and is present in cartilage at low levels. Here, we characterized cartilage versican during development and growth. Immunostaining showed that versican was mainly localized in the interterritorial zone of the articular surface at 2 weeks in mice, whereas aggrecan was in the pericellular zone of prehypertrophic and hypertrophic cells of the growth plate. Although its transcription level rapidly diminished during growth, versican remained in the articular cartilage. Biochemical analysis of normal articular cartilage and aggrecan-null cartilage from cmd (cartilage matrix deficiency)/cmd mice revealed that versican was present as a proteoglycan aggregate with both link protein and hyaluronan. Chondroitin sulfate chains of versican digested with chondroitinase ABC contained 71% nonsulfated and 28% 4-sulfated unsaturated disaccharides, whereas those of aggrecan contained 25% nonsulfated and 70% 4-sulfated. Link protein overexpression in chondrocytic N1511 cells at the early stage of differentiation, in which versican is expressed, enhanced versican deposition in the matrix and prevented subsequent aggrecan deposition. These results suggest that versican is present as an aggregate distinct from the aggrecan aggregate and may play specific roles in the articular surface.
Sox9 encodes a HMG-box transcription factor that has been implicated in numerous developmental processes including chondrogenesis, formation of cardiac valves, and neural crest, testis and spinal cord development. Here we show that Sox9 is expressed in the notochord and the sclerotome during mouse development suggesting that the gene may play additional roles in the development of the axial skeleton. We used ubiquitous mosaic inactivation of a conditional Sox9 allele by Cre/loxP-mediated recombination in the mouse to screen for novel functions of Sox9, and revealed that its absence results in severe malformations of the vertebral column. Besides its established role in chondrogenesis, Sox9 is required for maintaining the structural integrity of the notochord. Mutant embryos establish a normal notochord; however, starting from E9.5, the notochord disintegrates in a cranial to caudal manner. The late requirement in notochord development uncovered a function of notochord-derived signals in inducing segmentation of the ventral sclerotome and chondrogenesis. Thus, Sox9 is required for axial skeletogenesis by regulating notochord survival and chondrogenesis.
Proteoglycan (PG) aggrecan, a major macromolecular component of cartilage, is highly immunogenic; it induces arthritis in genetically susceptible BALB/c mice. The present study maps the T-cell epitope repertoire of cartilage PG by identifying a total of 27 distinct T-cell epitopes. An epitope hierarchy, accounting for the different effector functions of PG-specific T cells, and determinant spreading, has been found. T-cell responses to four epitopes were associated with arthritis induction. Some of the T-cell epitopes were full T-cell activators, whereas a number of subdominant and cryptic epitopes proved to be partial activators in vitro, inducing either cytokine secretion or T-cell proliferation, but not both. A few T-cell epitopes of the core protein of cartilage PG were clearly recognized by T cells in PG-immunized arthritic animals, but the corresponding peptides did not induce T-cell responses when injected into naive BALB/c mice; thus these T-cell epitopes were designated as "conditionally immunogenic."
The long-term integrity of an articulating joint is dependent upon the nourishment of its cartilage component and the protection of the cartilage surface from friction-induced wear. Loss-of-function mutations in lubricin (a secreted glycoprotein encoded by the gene PRG4) cause the human autosomal recessive disorder camptodactyly-arthropathy-coxa vara-pericarditis syndrome (CACP). A major feature of CACP is precocious joint failure. In order to delineate the mechanism by which lubricin protects joints, we studied the expression of Prg4 mRNA during mouse joint development, and we created lubricin-mutant mice. Prg4 began to be expressed in surface chondrocytes and synoviocytes after joint cavitation had occurred and remained strongly expressed by these cells postnatally. Mice lacking lubricin were viable and fertile. In the newborn period, their joints appeared normal. As the mice aged, we observed abnormal protein deposits on the cartilage surface and disappearance of underlying superficial zone chondrocytes. In addition to cartilage surface changes and subsequent cartilage deterioration, intimal cells in the synovium surrounding the joint space became hyperplastic, which further contributed to joint failure. Purified or recombinant lubricin inhibited the growth of these synoviocytes in vitro. Tendon and tendon sheath involvement was present in the ankle joints, where morphologic changes and abnormal calcification of these structures were observed. We conclude that lubricin has multiple functions in articulating joints and tendons that include the protection of surfaces and the control of synovial cell growth.
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) such as heparan sulfate and chondroitin sulfate are polysaccharide chains that are attached to core proteins to form proteoglycans. The biosynthesis of GAGs is a multistep process that includes the attachment of sulfate groups to specific positions of the polysaccharide chains by sulfotransferases. Heparan-sulfate and heparan sulfate-sulfotransferases play important roles in growth factor signaling and animal development. However, the biological importance of chondroitin sulfation during mammalian development and growth factor signaling is poorly understood. We show that a gene trap mutation in the BMP-induced chondroitin-4-sulfotransferase 1 (C4st1) gene (also called carbohydrate sulfotransferase 11 - Chst11), which encodes an enzyme specific for the transfer of sulfate groups to the 4-O-position in chondroitin, causes severe chondrodysplasia characterized by a disorganized cartilage growth plate as well as specific alterations in the orientation of chondrocyte columns. This phenotype is associated with a chondroitin sulfation imbalance, mislocalization of chondroitin sulfate in the growth plate and an imbalance of apoptotic signals. Analysis of several growth factor signaling pathways that are important in cartilage growth plate development showed that the C4st1(gt/gt) mutation led to strong upregulation of TGFbeta signaling with concomitant downregulation of BMP signaling, while Indian hedgehog (Ihh) signaling was unaffected. These results show that chondroitin 4-O-sulfation by C4st1 is required for proper chondroitin sulfate localization, modulation of distinct signaling pathways and cartilage growth plate morphogenesis. Our study demonstrates an important biological role of differential chondroitin sulfation in mammalian development.
This study describes comprehensive polling of transcription start and termination sites and analysis of previously unidentified full-length complementary DNAs derived from the mouse genome. We identify the 5' and 3' boundaries of 181,047 transcripts with extensive variation in transcripts arising from alternative promoter usage, splicing, and polyadenylation. There are 16,247 new mouse protein-coding transcripts, including 5154 encoding previously unidentified proteins. Genomic mapping of the transcriptome reveals transcriptional forests, with overlapping transcription on both strands, separated by deserts in which few transcripts are observed. The data provide a comprehensive platform for the comparative analysis of mammalian transcriptional regulation in differentiation and development.
ADAMTS-1 is a metalloprotease that has been implicated in the inhibition of angiogenesis and is a mediator of proteolytic cleavage of the hyaluronan binding proteoglycans, aggrecan and versican. In an attempt to further understand the biological function of ADAMTS-1, a yeast two-hybrid screen was performed using the carboxyl-terminal region of ADAMTS-1 as bait. As a result, the extracellular matrix protein fibulin-1 was identified as a potential interacting molecule. Through a series of analyses that included ligand affinity chromatography, co-immunoprecipitation, pulldown assays, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, the ability of these two proteins to interact was substantiated. Additional studies showed that ADAMTS-1 and fibulin-1 colocalized in vivo. Furthermore, fibulin-1 was found to enhance the capacity of ADAMTS-1 to cleave aggrecan, a proteoglycan known to bind to fibulin-1. We confirmed that fibulin-1 was not a proteolytic substrate for ADAMTS-1. Together, these findings indicate that fibulin-1 is a new regulator of ADAMTS-1-mediated proteoglycan proteolysis and thus may play an important role in proteoglycan turnover in tissues where there is overlapping expression.
Antisense transcription (transcription from the opposite strand to a protein-coding or sense strand) has been ascribed roles in gene regulation involving degradation of the corresponding sense transcripts (RNA interference), as well as gene silencing at the chromatin level. Global transcriptome analysis provides evidence that a large proportion of the genome can produce transcripts from both strands, and that antisense transcripts commonly link neighboring "genes" in complex loci into chains of linked transcriptional units. Expression profiling reveals frequent concordant regulation of sense/antisense pairs. We present experimental evidence that perturbation of an antisense RNA can alter the expression of sense messenger RNAs, suggesting that antisense transcription contributes to control of transcriptional outputs in mammals.
Studies have suggested that continuous Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in nascent cartilaginous skeletal elements blocks chondrocyte hypertrophy and endochondral ossification, whereas signaling starting at later stages stimulates hypertrophy and ossification, indicating that Wnt/beta-catenin roles are developmentally regulated. To test this conclusion further, we created transgenic mice expressing a fusion mutant protein of beta-catenin and LEF (CA-LEF) in nascent chondrocytes. Transgenic mice had severe skeletal defects, particularly in limbs. Growth plates were totally disorganized, lacked maturing chondrocytes expressing Indian hedgehog and collagen X, and failed to undergo endochondral ossification. Interestingly, the transgenic cartilaginous elements were ill defined, intermingled with surrounding connective and vascular tissues, and even displayed abnormal joints. However, when activated beta-catenin mutant (delta-beta-catenin) was expressed in chondrocytes already engaged in maturation such as those present in chick limbs, chondrocyte maturation and bone formation were greatly enhanced. Differential responses to Wnt/beta-catenin signaling were confirmed in cultured chondrocytes. Activation in immature cells blocked maturation and actually de-stabilized their phenotype, as revealed by reduced expression of chondrocyte markers, abnormal cytoarchitecture, and loss of proteoglycan matrix. Activation in mature cells instead stimulated hypertrophy, matrix mineralization, and expression of terminal markers such as metalloprotease (MMP)-13 and vascular endothelial growth factor. Because proteoglycans are crucial for cartilage function, we tested possible mechanisms for matrix loss. Delta-beta-catenin expression markedly increased expression of MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-7, MMP-9, MT3-MMP, and ADAMTS5. In conclusion, Wnt/beta-catenin signaling regulates chondrocyte phenotype, maturation, and function in a developmentally regulated manner, and regulated action by this pathway is critical for growth plate organization, cartilage boundary definition, and endochondral ossification.
Previous studies have demonstrated the ability of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) to promote chondrogenic differentiation in vitro. However, the in vivo role of BMP signaling during chondrogenesis has been unclear. We report here that BMP signaling is essential for multiple aspects of early chondrogenesis. Whereas mice deficient in type 1 receptors Bmpr1a or Bmpr1b in cartilage are able to form intact cartilaginous elements, double mutants develop a severe generalized chondrodysplasia. The majority of skeletal elements that form through endochondral ossification are absent, and the ones that form are rudimentary. The few cartilage condensations that form in double mutants are delayed in the prechondrocytic state and never form an organized growth plate. The reduced size of mutant condensations results from increased apoptosis and decreased proliferation. Moreover, the expression of cartilage-specific extracellular matrix proteins is severely reduced in mutant elements. We demonstrate that this defect in chondrocytic differentiation can be attributed to lack of Sox9, L-Sox5, and Sox6 expression in precartilaginous condensations in double mutants. In summary, our study demonstrates that BMPR1A and BMPR1B are functionally redundant during early chondrogenesis and that BMP signaling is required for chondrocyte proliferation, survival, and differentiation in vivo.
From early in limb development the transcription factor Gli3 acts to define boundaries of gene expression along the anterior-posterior (AP) axis, establishing asymmetric patterns required to provide positional information. As limb development proceeds, posterior mesenchyme expression of Sonic hedgehog (Shh) regulates Gli3 transcription and post-translational processing to specify digit number and identity. The molecular cascades dependent on Gli3 at later stages of limb development, which link early patterning events with final digit morphogenesis, remain poorly characterised. By analysing the transcriptional consequences of loss of Gli3 in the anterior margin of the E11.5 and E12.5 limb bud in the polydactylous mouse mutant extra-toes (Gli3(Xt/Xt)), we have identified a number of known and novel transcripts dependent on Gli3 in the limb. In particular, we demonstrated that the genes encoding the paired box transcription factor Pax9, the Notch ligand Jagged1 and the cell surface receptor Cdo are dependent on Gli3 for correct expression in the anterior limb mesenchyme. Analysis of expression in compound Shh;Gli3 mutant mouse embryos and in both in vitro and in vivo Shh signaling assays, further defined the importance of Shh regulated processing of Gli3 in controlling gene expression. In particular Pax9 regulation by Shh and Gli3 was shown to be context dependent, with major differences between the limb and somite revealed by Shh bead implantation experiments in the chick. Jagged1 was shown to be induced by Shh in the chick limb and in a C3H10T1/2 cell based signaling assay, with Shh;Gli3 mutant analysis indicating that expression is dependent on Gli3 derepression. Our data have also revealed that perturbation of early patterning events within the Gli3(Xt/Xt) limb culminates in a specific delay of anterior chondrogenesis which is subsequently realised as extra digits.
The growth plate is a transitional region of cartilage and highly diversified chondrocytes that controls long bone formation. The composition of growth plate cartilage changes markedly from the epiphysis to the metaphysis, notably with the loss of type II collagen, concomitant with an increase in MMP-13; type X collagen; and the C-propeptide of type II collagen. In contrast, the fate of aggrecan in the growth plate is not clear: there is biosynthesis and loss of aggrecan from hypertrophic cartilage, but the mechanism of loss is unknown. All matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) cleave aggrecan between amino acids N341 and F342 in the proteinase-sensitive interglobular domain (IGD), and MMPs in the growth plate are thought to have a role in aggrecanolysis. We have generated mice with aggrecan resistant to proteolysis by MMPs in the IGD and found that the mice develop normally with no skeletal deformities. The mutant mice do not accumulate aggrecan, and there is no significant compensatory proteolysis occurring at alternate sites in the IGD. Our studies reveal that MMP cleavage in this key region is not a predominant mechanism for removing aggrecan from growth plate cartilage.
Matrilin-3 belongs to the matrilin family of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins and is primarily expressed in cartilage. Mutations in the gene encoding human matrilin-3 (MATN-3) lead to autosomal dominant skeletal disorders, such as multiple epiphyseal dysplasia (MED), which is characterized by short stature and early-onset osteoarthritis, and bilateral hereditary microepiphyseal dysplasia, a variant form of MED characterized by pain in the hip and knee joints. To assess the function of matrilin-3 during skeletal development, we have generated Matn-3 null mice. Homozygous mutant mice appear normal, are fertile, and show no obvious skeletal malformations. Histological and ultrastructural analyses reveal endochondral bone formation indistinguishable from that of wild-type animals. Northern blot, immunohistochemical, and biochemical analyses indicated no compensatory upregulation of any other member of the matrilin family. Altogether, our findings suggest functional redundancy among matrilins and demonstrate that the phenotypes of MED disorders are not caused by the absence of matrilin-3 in cartilage ECM.
Previous studies have demonstrated that osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1), a member of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) subfamily of the TGF-beta superfamily, stimulates aggrecan synthesis. To investigate transcriptional regulation of the aggrecan gene by OP-1, we constructed a clone containing a 1 kb region of the 5'-upstream sequence of the mouse aggrecan gene fused to the promoter-less luciferase reporter gene in pGL2-Basic vector. A series of promoter deletion constructs were also generated. Studies of the promoter activity of these DNA constructs in transient-transfected cells revealed that deletion of a 33 bp region rendered the promoter unresponsive to OP-1, BMP-6, and CDMP-1 without affecting BMP-2 and TGF-beta1 responsiveness. Thus, the expression of the mouse aggrecan gene in response to BMPs appears to be the result of a unique combination of different cis-acting elements.
Sox5 and Sox6 encode Sry-related transcription factors that redundantly promote early chondroblast differentiation. Using mouse embryos with three or four null alleles of Sox5 and Sox6, we show that they are also essential and redundant in major steps of growth plate chondrocyte differentiation. Sox5 and Sox6 promote the development of a highly proliferating pool of chondroblasts between the epiphyses and metaphyses of future long bones. This pool is the likely cellular source of growth plates. Sox5 and Sox6 permit formation of growth plate columnar zones by keeping chondroblasts proliferating and by delaying chondrocyte prehypertrophy. They allow induction of chondrocyte hypertrophy and permit formation of prehypertrophic and hypertrophic zones by delaying chondrocyte terminal differentiation induced by ossification fronts. They act, at least in part, by down-regulating Ihh signaling, Fgfr3, and Runx2 and by up-regulating Bmp6. In conclusion, Sox5 and Sox6 are needed for the establishment of multilayered growth plates, and thereby for proper and timely development of endochondral bones.
Matrilins are putative adaptor proteins of the extracellular matrix (ECM) which can form both collagen-dependent and collagen-independent filamentous networks. While all known matrilins (matrilin-1, -2, -3, and -4) are expressed in cartilage, only matrilin-2 and matrilin-4 are abundant in non-skeletal tissues. To clarify the biological role of matrilin-2, we have developed a matrilin-2-deficient mouse strain. Matrilin-2 null mice show no gross abnormalities during embryonic or adult development, are fertile, and have a normal lifespan. Histological and ultrastructural analyses indicate apparently normal structure of all organs and tissues where matrilin-2 is expressed. Although matrilin-2 co-localizes with matrilin-4 in many tissues, Northern hybridization, semiquantitative RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and biochemical analysis reveal no significant alteration in the steady-state level of matrilin-4 expression in homozygous mutant mice. Immunostaining of wild-type and mutant skin samples indicate no detectable differences in the expression and deposition of matrilin-2 binding partners including collagen I, laminin-nidogen complexes, fibrillin-2 and fibronectin. In addition, electron microscopy reveals an intact basement membrane at the epidermal-dermal junction and normal organization of the dermal collagen fibrils in mutant skin. These data suggest that either matrilin-2 and matrilin-2-mediated matrix-matrix interactions are dispensable for proper ECM assembly and function, or that they are efficiently compensated by other matrix components including wild-type levels of matrilin-4.
Although the gross embryology of inner ear development has been documented for several different vertebrate species at a descriptive level, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved remains rudimentary. Therefore, we have used cDNA subtraction and normalization procedures to define genes upregulated in the 13.5dpc mouse inner ear, a developmental stage where inner ear morphogenesis and tissue remodeling is active and differentiation of future hair cells is being initiated. We recovered 33 different genes from this subtraction and using gene-specific primers have confirmed the transcriptional upregulation of 26 of these in the 13.5dpc inner ear. Northern analyses were used to investigate splicing differences between the inner ear and the whole embryo at 13.5dpc. Spatial localization of expression was determined through whole-ear in situ hybridization analysis, and selected genes were analyzed in more detail through in situ hybridization of tissue sections. These data illustrate that the genes isolated in this study are expressed in the developing otic capsule and/or neuroepithelium. Furthermore, the expression patterns also reveal molecular heterogeneity in the developing capsule and indicate that for some genes, the chondrogenic otic capsule is composed of distinct domains of gene expression.
OBJECTIVE: To analyze the effect of a type II collagen mutation on craniofacial development in transgenic Del1 mice. DESIGN: Samples from homozygous (+/+) and heterozygous (+/-) transgenic Del1 mice harboring mutations in the type II collagen gene as well as non-transgenic (-/-) littermates were collected at days 12.5, 14.5, 16.5 and 18.5 of gestation. The cartilaginous and bony elements of the craniofacial skeleton were analyzed after staining with alcian blue, alizarin red S and von Kossa. The expression patterns of type II, IX and X collagens and aggrecan were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. RESULTS: Several abnormalities were observed in the craniofacial skeleton of transgenic Del1 mice. These include an overall retardation of chondrogenesis and osteogenesis in Del1 +/+ mice, and to a lesser extent also in Del1+/- mice. Characteristic findings in Del1 +/+ mice included a reduced anterioposterior length, a smaller size of the mandible, a palatal cleft and a downward bending snout. We also detected retarded ossification of calvarial bones in Del1 +/+ and +/- mice when compared with Del1 -/- mice. A surprising finding was the presence of both type II and X collagens and their mRNAs in the periosteum of the cranial base. CONCLUSION: The present study confirms the important role of type II collagen mutation in craniofacial development and growth. In addition to affecting endochondral ossification, the type II collagen mutation also disturbs intramembranous ossification in the developing craniofacial skeleton.
The transcription factor OASIS gene, which encodes for a CREB/ATF family member, is specifically expressed in the salivary gland, the cartilage and the tooth germs of the mouse embryo. In the present study, the expression patterns were compared between OASIS mRNA and major vertebrate proteoglycans, which might be the downstream genes of OASIS in the tooth germs of mouse first mandibular molars, through in situ hybridization histochemistry. OASIS mRNA expression was observed in the inner enamel epithelium during the cap and bell stages (E14.5-E18.5) in the preodontoblasts during differentiation stage (E18.5-P0) and in the differentiating odontoblasts during the early secretory stage (P2.5-P4.5). Proteoglycans (versican, decorin, biglycan, glypican, syndecan-1, and syndecan-3) were expressed in the tooth germs in various patterns. Decorin, biglycan, syndecan-1 and syndecan-3 showed gene expressions overlapping with OASIS. Especially the expression pattern of decorin and syndecan-3 coincided temporally and spatially exactly with that of OASIS. These results suggest that the OASIS gene might be related to proteoglycan expression and may play an important role in the differentiation of the odontoblast and cells in inner enamel epithelium.
The notochord has major roles in vertebral column formation: indirectly by inducing sclerotome cell differentiation; and directly by forming the nucleus pulposus of intervertebral discs. Sox5 and Sox6 encode Sry-related HMG box transcription factors that act redundantly to promote chondroblast differentiation in all cartilages of the mouse embryo. We show that Sox5 and Sox6 are expressed in the notochord cell lineage and required for notochord late development. In Sox5(-/-)/Sox6(-/-) embryos, the notochord formed a typical rod-like structure. It fulfilled its inductive functions, as indicated by expression of sonic hedgehog and sclerotome specification. However, the notochord failed to become surrounded with an extracellular matrix sheath. This phenotype was associated with a downregulation of extracellular matrix genes, including the genes for collagen 2, aggrecan and perlecan in both notochord cells and surrounding chondrocytic cells of presumptive inner annuli and vertebral bodies. The mutant notochord then underwent an aberrant, fatal dismantling after sclerotome cell migration. Its cells became removed first from intervertebral spaces and then from vertebral bodies, and it progressively underwent apoptosis. Meanwhile, the development of inner annuli and vertebral bodies was dramatically impaired. Consequently, the vertebral column of Sox5(-/-)/Sox6(-/-) fetuses consisted of a very deficient cartilage and was devoid of nuclei pulposi. In Sox5(-/-)/Sox6(+/-) and more severely in Sox5(+/-)/Sox6(-/-) embryos, the notochord sheath was thinner, but cells survived. By birth, nuclei pulposi were rudimentary, and its cells poorly swelled and still expressing sonic hedgehog. Hence, Sox5 and Sox6 are required for notochord extracellular matrix sheath formation, notochord cell survival and formation of nuclei pulposi. Through these roles and essential roles in cartilage formation, they are central transcriptional regulators of vertebral column development.
Coordinated production and remodeling of the extracellular matrix is essential during development. It is of particular importance for skeletogenesis, as the ability of cartilage and bone to provide structural support is determined by the composition and organization of the extracellular matrix. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF, CCN2) is a secreted protein containing several domains that mediate interactions with growth factors, integrins and extracellular matrix components. A role for CTGF in extracellular matrix production is suggested by its ability to mediate collagen deposition during wound healing. CTGF also induces neovascularization in vitro, suggesting a role in angiogenesis in vivo. To test whether CTGF is required for extracellular matrix remodeling and/or angiogenesis during development, we examined the pattern of Ctgf expression and generated Ctgf-deficient mice. Ctgf is expressed in a variety of tissues in midgestation embryos, with highest levels in vascular tissues and maturing chondrocytes. We confirmed that CTGF is a crucial regulator of cartilage extracellular matrix remodeling by generating Ctgf(-/-) mice. Ctgf deficiency leads to skeletal dysmorphisms as a result of impaired chondrocyte proliferation and extracellular matrix composition within the hypertrophic zone. Decreased expression of specific extracellular matrix components and matrix metalloproteinases suggests that matrix remodeling within the hypertrophic zones in Ctgf mutants is defective. The mutant phenotype also revealed a role for Ctgf in growth plate angiogenesis. Hypertrophic zones of Ctgf mutant growth plates are expanded, and endochondral ossification is impaired. These defects are linked to decreased expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the hypertrophic zones of Ctgf mutants. These results demonstrate that CTGF is important for cell proliferation and matrix remodeling during chondrogenesis, and is a key regulator coupling extracellular matrix remodeling to angiogenesis at the growth plate.
Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) mutations cause one form of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by a toxic gain of function that may be related to abnormal protein folding and aggregate formation. However, the processing pathways involved in SOD1 aggregate generation within spinal cord remain unclear. We have now developed an experimental system for studying SOD1 aggregate formation and clearance in intact spinal cord tissue. Here we demonstrate that the formation of SOD1-positive aggregates in G93A SOD1 transgenic mouse spinal cord tissue involves proteasome-mediated proteolysis. Organotypic spinal cord slices from 9-day-old transgenic mice expressing G93A SOD1 develop SOD1 aggregates with proteasome inhibition. In contrast, SOD1 aggregates do not form in spinal cord slices from wild type mice or transgenic mice overexpressing wild type SOD1 following proteasome inhibition. Furthermore, SOD1 aggregate formation within G93A SOD1 spinal cord is both sensitive to small changes in overall proteasome activity and reversible with the restoration of proteasome function. Our results also establish that adult mouse spinal cord exhibits a relative deficiency in proteasome activity compared with non-CNS tissue that may help explain the propensity of spinal cord to form SOD1-positive aggregates.
We investigated the expression pattern of versican, aggrecan, link protein and hyaluronan in the developing limb bud cartilage of the fetal mouse using in situ hybridization and/or immunohistochemistry. Versican mRNA and immunostaining were detected in the mesenchymal cell condensation of the future digital bone at E13. Versican mRNA expression rapidly disappeared from the tibial cartilage, as cartilage formation progressed during E13-15, but the immunostaining was gradually replaced by aggrecan immunostaining from the diaphysis. Immunostaining for both molecules thus had a 'nega-posi' pattern and consequently versican immunostaining was still detected at the epiphyseal end at E15. This result indicated that versican functions as a temporary framework in newly formed cartilage matrix. An aggrecan-positive region within the cartilage invariably had intense hyaluronan staining, whereas a versican-positive region also had affinity for hyaluronan within the cartilage, but not in the mesenchymal cell condensation. Therefore, the presence of versican aggregates was not confirmed in the developing limb bud cartilage. Furthermore, although link protein was more closely related with aggrecan than versican during limb bud cartilage formation, there was a discrepancy between the expression of aggrecan and link protein in tibial cartilage at E15. In particular, only a link protein-positive region was present in the marginal area of the metaphysis and the epiphysis at this stage. This finding may indicate a novel role for link protein.