Matrilins are putative adaptor proteins of the extracellular matrix (ECM) which can form both collagen-dependent and collagen-independent filamentous networks. While all known matrilins (matrilin-1, -2, -3, and -4) are expressed in cartilage, only matrilin-2 and matrilin-4 are abundant in non-skeletal tissues. To clarify the biological role of matrilin-2, we have developed a matrilin-2-deficient mouse strain. Matrilin-2 null mice show no gross abnormalities during embryonic or adult development, are fertile, and have a normal lifespan. Histological and ultrastructural analyses indicate apparently normal structure of all organs and tissues where matrilin-2 is expressed. Although matrilin-2 co-localizes with matrilin-4 in many tissues, Northern hybridization, semiquantitative RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and biochemical analysis reveal no significant alteration in the steady-state level of matrilin-4 expression in homozygous mutant mice. Immunostaining of wild-type and mutant skin samples indicate no detectable differences in the expression and deposition of matrilin-2 binding partners including collagen I, laminin-nidogen complexes, fibrillin-2 and fibronectin. In addition, electron microscopy reveals an intact basement membrane at the epidermal-dermal junction and normal organization of the dermal collagen fibrils in mutant skin. These data suggest that either matrilin-2 and matrilin-2-mediated matrix-matrix interactions are dispensable for proper ECM assembly and function, or that they are efficiently compensated by other matrix components including wild-type levels of matrilin-4.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology