Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Lawrence J. Ellison Musculoskeletal Research Center, University of California at Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.
Thrombospondins (TSPs) are widely known as a family of five calcium-binding matricellular proteins. While these proteins belong to the same family, they are encoded by different genes, regulate different cellular functions and are localized to specific regions of the body. TSP-5 or Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein (COMP) is the only TSP that has been associated with skeletal disorders in humans, including pseudoachondroplasia (PSACH) and multiple epiphyseal dysplasia (MED). The pentameric structure of COMP, the evidence that it interacts with multiple cellular proteins, and the recent reports of COMP acting as a 'lattice' to present growth factors to cells, inspired this review of COMP and its interacting partners. In our review, we have compiled the interactions of COMP with other proteins in the cartilage extracellular matrix and summarized their importance in maintaining the structural integrity of cartilage as well as in regulating cellular functions.
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