In vivo human Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein (COMP) promoter activity

Karen L. Posey, Sherri Davies, Elise S. Bales, Richard Haynes, Linda J. Sandell, Jacqueline T. Hecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) is a large extracellular matrix protein whose function is unknown. Mutations in COMP cause pseudoachondroplasia and multiple epiphyseal dysplasia, two skeletal dysplasias which are associated with intracellular retention of COMP in chondrocytes. In contrast, COMP null mice are normal suggesting gene redundancy or that the detrimental effect is associated with mutant COMP rather than the absence of functional COMP. To define the elements that regulate COMP transcription and tissue-specificity, we have evaluated the human COMP promoter driving fusion gene expression in vitro and in vivo. COMP promoter activity is higher in rat chondrosarcoma cells (RCS) than in a fibroblast cell line. In RCS cells, expression of a reporter gene containing 1.7 kb of the human COMP promoter was three-fold higher than all shorter COMP promoter constructs. In transgenic mice, 1.7 kb of the human COMP promoter is active early in development in the limbs, spine, and eye. As development progresses, promoter activity diminishes in the eye and migrates from the center to the ends of the long bones. On the other hand, while 375 bp of the human COMP promoter is sufficient for proper tissue-specific expression, levels are less than those found with the 1.7-COMP promoter. The expression pattern of both promoters recapitulates endogenous cartilage COMP expression in mice. Our findings indicate that the elements required for chondrocyte-specific expression lie within 375 bp of the translational start site, while DNA enhancer elements are located between 1.0 to 1.7 kb.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-549
Number of pages11
JournalMatrix Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • COMP
  • Dwarfism
  • Promoter
  • Pseudoachondroplasia
  • Skeleton


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