Expression of the cartilage matrix protein gene at different chondrocyte developmental stages

S. Muratoglu, C. Bachrati, M. Malpeli, P. Szabo, M. Neri, B. Dozin, F. Deak, R. Cancedda, I. Kiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cartilage matrix protein (CMP), a major noncollagenous component of certain types of hyaline cartilage, is synthesized by chondrocytes in a developmentally regulated manner. In this study, we monitored the accumulation of CMP in the developing chicken limb and sternum by inmunostaining. In older embryos, the specific extracellular staining was restricted to the resting/proliferative zone of metaphyseal cartilage and to the immediately adjacent hypertrophic cartilage. A lack of staining was observed in the peripheral layers of articular cartilage. Data were compared with the accumulation of CMP mRNA measured by Northern analysis relative to other cartilage-specific messages in cell cultures representing different stages of chondrocyte differentiation, as well as with the steady state mRNA levels in tissue samples. We found a correlation between the gene expression pattern of the in vitro cultures and the one observed in certain in vivo differentiation stages. The high density mesenchyme culture was utilized as a model for studying the events at early stage I (stage Ia) of chondrogenesis. This culture was characterized by relatively low steady state mRNA levels for cartilage proteins, including the later activation of the CMP gene as compared to type II collagen or link protein genes, and relatively high steady state mRNA levels for type VI collagen and β-actin. Chicken embryo chondrocyte cultures obtained from sterna of 14-day-old embryos, however, consisted predominantly of stage Ib chondrocytes, and showed high steady state levels for cartilage proteins, but relatively lower levels for type VI collagen and β-actin mRNAs. In accordance with the in vivo data, a relatively high steady state level was detected for CMP mRNA in cultures of hypertrophic (stage II) chondrocytes. We also performed transient expression assays in the various culture systems to study the role of the promoter upstream and intronic control regions in the tissue- and developmental stage-specific regulation of the CMP gene. We showed that the enhancer worked in a lineage specific manner, by further stimulating the minimal promoter activity independent of the developmental stage of chondrocytes, while it did not in other tissues. The promoter upstream control regions, however, seemed to play a role in restricting the promoter activity to a certain chondrocyte developmental stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-418
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Cell Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Cartilage
  • Cartilage matrix protein
  • Chondrogenic differentiation
  • Gene regulation
  • Transient expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology


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