The glycosaminoglycan attachment regions of human aggrecan

J Biol Chem. 2006 Jul 7;281(27):18444-50. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M512531200. Epub 2006 May 5.


Aggrecan possesses both chondroitin sulfate (CS) and keratan sulfate (KS) chains attached to its core protein, which reside mainly in the central region of the molecule termed the glycosaminoglycan-attachment region. This region is further subdivided into the KS-rich domain and two adjacent CS-rich domains (CS1 and CS2). The CS1 domain of the human is unique in exhibiting length polymorphism due to a variable number of tandem amino acid repeats. The focus of this work was to determine how length polymorphism affects the structure of the CS1 domain and whether CS and KS chains can coexist in the different glycosaminoglycan-attachment domains. The CS1 domain possesses several amino acid repeat sequences that divide it into three subdomains. Variation in repeat number may occur in any of these domains, with the consequence that CS1 domains of the same length may possess different amino acid sequences. There was no evidence to support the presence of KS in either the CS1 or the CS2 domains nor the presence of CS in the KS-rich domain. The structure of the CS chains was shown to vary between the CS1 and CS2 domains, particularly in the adult, with variation occurring in chain length and the sulfation of the non-reducing terminal N-acetyl galactosamine residue. CS chains in the adult CS2 domain were shorter than those in the CS1 domain and possessed disulfated terminal residues in addition to monosulfated residues. There was, however, no change in the sulfation pattern of the disaccharide repeats in the CS chains from the two domains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aggrecans
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans* / chemistry
  • Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans* / genetics
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins* / chemistry
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins* / genetics
  • Glycosaminoglycans* / chemistry
  • Glycosaminoglycans* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lectins, C-Type* / chemistry
  • Lectins, C-Type* / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / genetics
  • Sulfates


  • Aggrecans
  • Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Sulfates