Copolymerization of pNcollagen III and collagen I. pNcollagen III decreases the rate of incorporation of collagen I into fibrils, the amount of collagen I incorporated, and the diameter of the fibrils formed. Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous observations suggested that pNcollagen III, the partially processed form of type III procollagen, coats fibrils of collagen I and thereby helps regulate the diameter of fibrils formed by collagen I. The previous observations, however, did not exclude the possibility that pNcollagen III was deposited on preformed collagen I fibrils after the fibrils were assembled. Here, mixtures of pNcollagen III and collagen I were generated simultaneously by enzymatic cleavage of precursor forms of the proteins. The results demonstrated that pNcollagen III forms true copolymers with collagen I. The presence of pNcollagen III both inhibited the rate at which collagen I assembled into fibrils and decreased the amount of collagen I incorporated into fibrils at steady-state equilibrium. In addition, the results demonstrated that copolymerization of pNcollagen III with collagen I generated fibrils that were thinner than fibrils generated under the same conditions from collagen I alone. Increasing the initial molar ratio of pNcollagen III to collagen I in the solution-phase increased the amount of pNcollagen III copolymerizing with collagen I and progressively decreased the diameter of the fibrils. Therefore, the copolymers were heterogeneous in that the stoichiometry of the two monomers in the fibrils varied. The results are consistent with a model in which pNcollagen III can regulate the diameter of collagen I fibrils by coating the surface of the fibrils and thereby allow tip growth but not lateral growth of the fibrils.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Chem

author list (cited authors)

  • Romanic, A. M., Adachi, E., Kadler, K. E., Hojima, Y., & Prockop, D. J

citation count

  • 116

complete list of authors

  • Romanic, AM||Adachi, E||Kadler, KE||Hojima, Y||Prockop, DJ

publication date

  • July 1991