Author(s): Myers JC, Li D, Abraham V, Amenta PS, Dion AS
Nineteen types, the product of 33 genes, comprise the collagen family of proteins. Types I, II, III, V, and XI constitute the fibrillar collagens, whereas types IV, VI to X, and XII to XIX represent the structurally diverse, nonfibrillar members. Type XIX collagen was discovered from the sequence of rhabdomyosarcoma cDNA clones. The type XIX chain consists of 1142 amino acids that contribute primarily to a unique five subdomain triple-helical region. To characterize the protein, to determine the tissue distribution, and to provide some insight into its function, we generated two type XIX-specific polyclonal antibodies. One was directed against a recombinant molecule containing amino-terminal sequences, and the second was derived from a synthetic peptide corresponding to most of the short carboxy terminus. These antibodies were used in immunoblot assays of rhabdomyosarcoma cell/matrix homogenates to identify a 165-kd disulfide-bonded and bacterial collagenase-sensitive protein. Immunohistochemical analysis of type XIX collagen was performed for human skeletal muscle, spleen, prostate, kidney, liver, placenta, colon, and skin. In contrast to Northern blot hybridizations, which showed very low levels of the 12-kb transcript in few tissues, the protein was found in all tissues examined. The type XIX collagen distribution was restricted to vascular, neuronal, mesenchymal, and some epithelial basement membrane zones, which is similar to the profile recently established (Ref. 8) and further extended here for type XV collagen. Nevertheless, localization of type XIX exhibited significant differences from type XV collagen that were particularly evident in the kidney, liver, and spleen. This report, in conjunction with the type XV results and other studies of type XVIII collagen, indicates the existence of a new collagen subgroup founded on their widespread presence in basement membrane zones regardless of chain homology. In addition to their role in basement membrane-stromal interactions, the pronounced vascular association suggests involvement of these related collagen types with angiogenic and pathological processes.