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An aggrecan-degrading activity associated with chondrocyte membranes

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Tim Cawston


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The breakdown of aggrecan in cartilage is, in part, mediated by an enzyme named aggrecanase that cleaves within the interglobular domain of the molecule between a glutamic residue and an alanine residue. Although the enzyme cleavage site has been identified, the identity, characteristics and localization of this enzyme remain unclear. We have demonstrated that membranes isolated from stimulated chondrocytes are able to generate aggrecan fragments that are labelled by an antibody that recognizes the new N-terminus formed by aggrecanase activity. It was further shown that the membrane activity was a metalloproteinase but was not inhibited by the naturally occurring matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitors, TIMPs 1 and 2. These results show that an aggrecanase activity is associated with the membranes of the chondrocytes and is a metalloproteinase, but might not be a member of the MMP family.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Billington CJ, Clark IM, Cawston TE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biochemical Journal

Year: 1998

Volume: 336

Issue: 1

Pages: 207-212

Print publication date: 15/11/1998

ISSN (print): 0264-6021

ISSN (electronic): 1470-8728

Publisher: Portland Press Ltd.