Molecular heterogeneity of the SHAP-hyaluronan complex - Isolation and characterization of the complex in synovial fluid from patients with rheumatoid arthritis

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We previously found that a covalent complex of SHAPs (serum-derived hyaluronan-associated proteins), the heavy chains of inter-alpha-trypsin inhibitor family molecules, with hyaluronan ( HA) is accumulated in synovial fluid of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and the complex is circulated in patient plasma at high concentrations. How the SHAP-HA complex participates in this disease is unknown. To address this question, it is essential to clarify the structural features of this macromolecule. The SHAP-HA complex purified from synovial fluid of the patients by three sequential CsCl isopycnic centrifugations was heterogeneous in density, and the fractions with different densities had distinct SHAP-to-HA ratios. Agarose gel electrophoresis and column chromatography revealed that there was no apparent difference in the size distribution of HA to which SHAPs were bound between the fractions with different densities. The SHAP-HA complex in the higher density fraction had fewer SHAP molecules per HA chain. Therefore, the difference between the fractions with different densities was due to a heterogeneous population of the SHAP-HA complex, namely the different number of SHAP molecules bound to an HA chain. Based on the SHAP and HA contents of the purified preparations, we estimated that an HA chain with a molecular weight of 2 x 10(6) has as many as five covalently bound SHAPs, which could give a proteinaceous multivalency to HA. Furthermore, we also found that the SHAP-HA complex tends to form aggregates, judging from the migration and elution profiles in agarose gel electrophoresis and gel filtration, respectively. The multivalent feature of the SHAP-HA complex was also confirmed by the negative staining electron micrographic images of the purified fractions. Taken together, those structural characteristics may underlie the aggregate-forming and extracellular matrix-stabilizing ability of the SHAP-HA complex.


  • W Yingsung
  • LS Zhuo
  • Matthias Mörgelin
  • M Yoneda
  • D Kida
  • H Watanabe
  • N Ishiguro
  • H Iwata
  • K Kimata
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infectious Medicine
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32710-32718
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch