Self-assembly into fibrils of a homotrimer of type I collagen. Academic Article uri icon


  • Type I collagen, the most abundant structural protein in vertebrates, is comprised of two alpha 1(I) chains and one alpha 2(I) chain. Fibroblasts from a proband with osteogenesis imperfecta, however, were shown to synthesize a type I procollagen that was a homotrimer of pro alpha 1(I) chains. The absence of pro alpha 2(I) chains in the procollagen provided a unique opportunity to assess the role of the alpha 2(I) chain in collagen fibrillogenesis by examining the self-assembly de novo of the homotrimeric collagen generated in vitro. The results demonstrated that the fibrils formed by the homotrimeric collagen had an asymmetric banding pattern similar to fibrils of normal heterotrimeric type I collagen. However, the efficiency for self-assembly of the homotrimer into fibrils was markedly reduced in that the critical concentration at 37 degrees C was 40-fold greater than for self-assembly of the heterotrimeric molecule. A van't Hoff-type plot of the data was used to determine values for delta G, delta H and delta S. The values indicated the self-assembly of the homotrimer is similar to self-assembly of the heterotrimer in that the process is entropy driven. The process is, however, less favorable in that the delta G value was 10 kJ/mol less negative. The results suggest that the presence of the alpha 2(I) chain in type I collagen helps drive the self-assembly process, probably because the alpha 2(I) chain is more hydrophobic than the alpha 1(I) chain and, therefore, smaller amounts of structured water may be lost during self-assembly of the homotrimer than during self-assembly of the heterotrimer.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

published proceedings

  • Matrix

author list (cited authors)

  • McBride, D. J., Kadler, K. E., Hojima, Y., & Prockop, D. J

citation count

  • 40

complete list of authors

  • McBride, DJ||Kadler, KE||Hojima, Y||Prockop, DJ

publication date

  • August 1992