The ternary complex involving link protein (LP), proteoglycan monomer, and hyaluronic acid (HA) is an important component of the extracellular matrix of cartilage. LP contains tandemly repeated sequences that were tested for their ability to interact with HA. A solid-phase assay was developed in which LP could specifically bind to immobilized HA. Detection of LP was by means of an antiserum directed against a peptide from the NH2-terminal half of LP. LP binding to HA could be inhibited with mAb 8A4 (Caterson, B., J. R. Baker, J. E. Christner, Y. Lee, and M. Lentz. 1985. J. Biol. Chem. 260:11348-11356). Using synthetic peptides that correspond to specific amino acid sequences of chicken LP (Deák, F., I. Kiss, K. J. Sparks, W. S. Argraves, G. Hampikian, and P. F. Goetinck. 1986. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 83:3766-3770) the epitopes for mAb 8A4 were determined to reside in peptides Gly217-Pro226 and Arg316-Arg325. These two peptides were also capable of inhibiting the interaction between LP and HA. The peptide Trp242-Val251 and Pro339-Val348 could also inhibit the interaction between LP and HA. All four peptides reside in the tandemly repeated domains of LP and they contain clusters of positively charged amino acids. Polylysine could not inhibit the interaction of LP with HA. The results indicate that the sites for interaction with HA are in the tandemly repeated sequences of LP and that there are four potential sites available for that interaction.

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