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Biglycan binds to α- and γ-sarcoglycan and regulates their expression during development


  • Michael S. Rafii and Hiroki Hagiwara contributed equally to this work.


The dystrophin-associated protein complex (DAPC), which links the cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix, is essential for muscle cell survival, and is defective in a wide range of muscular dystrophies. The DAPC contains two transmembrane subcomplexes—the dystroglycans and the sarcoglycans. Although several extracellular binding partners have been identified for the dystroglycans, none have been described for the sarcoglycan subcomplex. Here we show that the small leucine-rich repeat (LRR) proteoglycan biglycan binds to α- and γ-sarcoglycan as judged by ligand blot overlay and co-immunoprecipitation assays. Our studies with biglycan-decorin chimeras show that α- and γ-sarcoglycan bind to distinct sites on the polypeptide core of biglycan. Both biglycan proteoglycan as well as biglycan polypeptide lacking glycosaminoglycan (GAG) side chains are components of the dystrophin glycoprotein complex isolated from adult skeletal muscle membranes. Finally, our immunohistochemical and biochemical studies with biglycan null mice show that the expression of α- and γ-sarcoglycan is selectively reduced in muscle from young (P14-P21) animals, while levels in adult muscle (≥P35) are unchanged. We conclude that biglycan is a ligand for two members of the sarcoglycan complex and regulates their expression at discrete developmental ages. J. Cell. Physiol. 209: 439–447, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.