Link proteins are glycoproteins in cartilage that are involved in the stabilization of aggregates of proteoglycans and hyaluronic acid. We have identified link proteins in synovial cell cultures form normal canine synovium using sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, immunofluorescence, and immunolocation with specific antibodies by electrophoretic transfer. We have also found evidence for the synthesis of link proteins in these cultures by fluorography of radiolabeled synovial cell extracts. We have identified a 70,000 mol-wt protein in canine synovial cell culture extracts that has antigenic cross-reactivity with the 48,000-mol-wt link protein. Three link proteins were identified in normal canine articular cartilage. These results indicate that link proteins are more widely distributed in connective tissues than previously recognized and may have biological functions other than aggregate stabilization.

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