We report the mRNA and protein expression levels of human biglycan (BGN) in patients with different numbers of sex chromosomes. BGN maps to the distal long arm of the X chromosome, band Xq28, near the second pseudoautosomal region. BGN expression levels are reduced in 45,X Turner patients and increased in patients with additional sex chromosomes. This is suggestive of a pseudoautosomal gene or a gene that escapes X inactivation and that has an active Y chromosomal copy. However, we also provide evidence from hybrid cell lines that BGN is subject to X inactivation and that there is no homolog on the Y chromosome. This evidence excludes an escape from X inactivation. Moreover, additional Y chromosomes increase BGN expression levels, despite the absence of a Y chromosomal BGN gene. Therefore, another explanation has to be invoked. The "pseudoautosomal expression" of BGN may be attributed to a gene or genes that escape X inactivation and that regulate the transcriptional activity of BGN. This is the first report concerning an X chromosomal gene that does not show the conventional correlation between gene dosage and expression rate known from other X chromosomal genes.
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