The cartilage-specific (V + C)- fibronectin isoform exists primarily in homodimeric and monomeric configurations

Nancy Burton-Wurster, Rina Gendelman, Hao Chen, Da Nian Gu, Jonathan W. Tetreault, George Lust, Jean E. Schwarzbauer, James N. Macleod

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11 Scopus citations


Fibronectin is an extracellular-matrix glycoprotein encoded by a single gene, but with significant protein heterogeneity introduced through alternative RNA splicing and post-translational modifications. The (V + C)- splice variant, in which nucleotides encoding protein segments III-15 and I-10 are deleted along with the entire variable region, is unique in that expression is restricted to cartilaginous tissues. All known fibronectin splice variants retain the two C-terminal cysteine residues essential for dimerization, but cellular and/or structural constraints appear to influence homo- and heterodimerization patterns. Dimerization patterns of the (V + C)- isoform were studied under native conditions within canine articular cartilage and experimentally in COS-7, NIH-3T3 and CHO-K1 cell cultures. In all systems, (V + C)- fibronectin secretion was predominantly in a homodimeric configuration. Lower levels of (V + C)- monomers were also present. Heterodimers of (V + C)- with V+,C+ (V120) isoforms were not detected. Heterodimers of (V + C)- with V-,C+ (VO) subunits were detected only at low levels. Functional properties may differ significantly among monomers, homodimers and heterodimers. The unique dimerization pattern of (V + C)- fibronectin is consistent with this isoform having specialized functional properties in situ that are important for either the structural organization and biomechanical properties of cartilage matrix or regulation of a chondrocytic phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-561
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


  • Chondrocyte
  • Dimerization
  • Splice variant


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