We screened more than 60000 RIKEN mouse cDNAs for novel ECM (extracellular matrix) proteins by extensive computational screening followed by recombinant expression and immunohistochemical characterization. We identified two novel olfactomedin-family proteins characterized by the presence of tandem CXCXCX9C motifs in the N-terminal region, a coiled-coil domain and an olfactomedin domain in the C-terminal region. These proteins, named photomedin-1 and photomedin-2, were secreted as disulphide-bonded dimers (photomedin-1) or oligomers/multimers (photomedin-2) with O-linked carbohydrate chains, although photomedin-1 was proteolytically processed in the middle of the molecule after secretion. In the retina, photomedin-1 was selectively expressed in the outer segment of photoreceptor cells and photomedin-2 was expressed in all retinal neurons. Among a panel of ECM components, including glycosaminoglycans, photomedins preferentially bound to chondroitin sulphate-E and heparin. These results, together, indicate that photomedins are novel olfactomedin-domain-containing extracellular proteins capable of binding to proteoglycans containing these glycosaminoglycan chains.

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