Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.286, No.2, 268-273, 2001
Del1: A new protein in the superficial layer of articular cartilage
Articular cartilage contains four distinct zones, extending from the surface to the subchondral bone. Freshly isolated chondrocytes from the superficial zone of articular cartilage retain a collagenase-P-resistant cell-associated matrix. In the studies described here, the protein Del1 was identified as a component of the cell-associated matrix of superficial zone chondrocytes from adult bovine articular cartilage. Very little Del1 was associated with freshly isolated deep zone chondrocytes. Western blot analysis of articular cartilage cell and tissue extracts using polyclonal antibodies specific for Del1 showed Del1 was present in an insoluble cell-associated fraction. Extracts of the superficial zone of articular cartilage were found to be enriched in Del1 compared to the deeper layers of the tissue. Immunohistochemical staining of full-thickness articular cartilage with anti-Del1 antibodies also showed an enrichment of Del1 in the superficial zone. These observations are the first to describe the protein Del1 in a nonendothelial, nonfetal tissue.