RGD-CAP (βig-h3), isolated from cartilage as a collagen-associated protein, was demonstrated to have a binding ability to collagen and to enhance the adhesion of chondrocytes via integrin 1β1. However, the role of this protein in cartilage development remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the expression of RGD-CAP (βig-h3) in chick embryos and cultured mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) during the differentiation to chondrocytes. The effects of recombinant RGD-CAP on adhesion and DNA synthesis of MSCs and mineralization were also examined. Tissue sections from chick embryos at Hamburger-Hamilton (HH) stages 19-37 were immunostained with anti-chick RGD-CAP antibodies. The expression of RGD-CAP was slightest in chick embryos at HH stage 19, whereas a considerable expression of RGD-CAP was observed in the developing vertebrae and precartilage aggregate in the limb bud of chick embryos at HH stage 26. The expression of RGD-CAP was significantly reduced in vertebrae of chick embryo at HH stage 32. Reverse transcriptional polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis showed that RGD-CAP was highly expressed in cultured MSCs and decreased by 4-day treatment with 10-8 M dexamethasone when MSCs proliferated to adipocyte-like cells, whereas it was recovered by co-treatment with 3 ng/ml TGF-β for 8-12 days when MSCs proliferated to hypertrophic chondrocyte-like cells. The adhesion and DNA synthesis of MSCs cultured on RGD-CAP-coated dishes increased significantly compared with the controls. RGD-CAP was distributed in the prehypertrophic zone in matured cartilage of the vertebrae of chick embryos at HH stage 37. Recombinant RGD-CAP inhibited the mineralization of hypertrophic chondrocytes. These results suggest that RGD-CAP (βig-h3) exerts an essential role in the early cartilage development by enhancing the adhesion and growth of the pre-chondrogenic cells, and functions as a negative regulator for mineralization at the terminal stage of the chondrogenic differentiation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology