Cloning and primary structure of neurocan, a developmentally regulated, aggregating chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan of brain

U. Rauch, L. Karthikeyan, P. Maurel, R. U. Margolis, R. K. Margolis

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We have obtained the complete coding sequence of neurocan, a chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan of rat brain which is developmentally regulated with respect to its molecular size, concentration, carbohydrate composition, sulfation, and immunocytochemical localization. Two degenerate oligonucleotides, based on amino acid sequence data from the proteoglycan isolated from adult brain by immunoaffinity chromatography with the 1D1 monoclonal antibody, were used as sense and antisense primers in the polymerase chain reaction with a brain cDNA library as template to generate an unambiguous cDNA probe. A second probe for the N-terminal portion of the early postnatal form of the proteoglycan was obtained by reverse transcription/polymerase chain reaction. The composite sequence of overlapping cDNA clones is 5.2-kilobases (kb) long, including 1.3 kb of 3'- untranslated sequence and 76 base pairs of 5'-untranslated sequence. An open reading frame of 1257 amino acids encodes a protein with a molecular mass of 136 kDa containing 10 peptide sequences present in the adult and/or early postnatal brain proteoglycans. The deduced amino acid sequence revealed a 22- amino acid signal peptide followed by an immunoglobulin domain, tandem repeats characteristic of the hyaluronic acid-binding region of aggregating proteoglycans, and an RGDS sequence. The C-terminal portion (amino acids 951- 1215) has ~60% identity to regions in the C termini of the fibroblast and cartilage proteoglycans, versican and aggrecan, including two epidermal growth factor-like domains, a lectin-like domain, and a complement regulatory protein-like sequence. The central 595-amino acid portion of neurocan has no homology with other reported protein sequences. The proteoglycan contains six potential N-glycosylation sites and 25 potential threonine O-glycosylation sites. In the adult form of the proteoglycan (which represents the C-terminal half of neurocan) a single 32-kDa chondroitin 4-sulfate chain is linked at serine-944, whereas three additional potential chondroitin sulfate attachment sites (only two of which are utilized) are present in the larger proteoglycan species. A probe corresponding to a region of neurocan having no homology with versican or aggrecan hybridized with a single band at ~7.5 kb on Northern blots of mRNA from both 4-day and adult rat brain (but not with muscle, kidney, liver, or lung mRNA), indicating that the 1D1 proteoglycan of adult brain, containing a 68-kDa core protein, is generated by a developmentally regulated in vivo proteolytic processing of the 136-kDa species which is predominant in early postnatal brain. Neurocan aggregates with hyaluronic acid, and both core proteins are recognized by the 8A4 monoclonal antibody to rat chondrosarcoma link protein. This antibody also reacts with a 45-kDa link protein which copurifies with the proteoglycans isolated from either early postnatal or adult brain. Our data indicate that the 8A4 epitope is a Pro-Ile-Ser/Thr-Xaa-Pro sequence present in both link protein and the 1D1 proteoglycan core proteins, and we demonstrated that this antibody recognizes the synthetic peptide His-Pro-Ile-Ser-Gly-Pro-Trp in a dot-binding assay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19536-19547
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number27
StatePublished - 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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