Substitution of serine for alpha 1(I)-glycine 844 in a severe variant of osteogenesis imperfecta minimally destabilizes the triple helix of type I procollagen. The effects of glycine substitutions on thermal stability are either position of amino acid specific. Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent reports have demonstrated that a series of probands with severe osteogenesis imperfecta had single base mutations in one of the two structural genes for type I procollagen that substituted amino acids with bulkier side chains for glycine residues and decreased the melting temperature of the triple helix. Here we demonstrate that the type I procollagen synthesized by cultured fibroblasts from a proband with a severe form of osteogenesis imperfecta consisted of normal molecules and molecules over-modified by post-translational reactions. The thermal stability of the intact type I collagen was normal as assayed by protease digestion under conditions in which a decrease in thermal stability was previously observed with eight other substitutions for glycine in the alpha 1(I) chain. In contrast, the thermal stability of the one-quarter length B fragment generated by digestion with vertebrate collagenase was decreased by 2-3 degrees C under the same conditions. Nucleotide sequencing of cDNAs and genomic DNA established that the proband had a substitution of A for G in one allele of the pro alpha 1(I) gene that converted the codon for alpha 1-glycine 844 to a codon for serine. The results also established that the alpha 1-serine 844 was the only mutation that could account for the decrease in thermal stability of the collagenase B fragment. There are at least two possible explanations for the failure of the alpha 1-serine 844 substitution to decrease the thermal stability of the collagen molecule whereas eight similar mutations decreased the melting temperature. One possibility is that the effects of glycine substitutions are position specific because not all glycine residues make equivalent contributions to cooperative blocks of the triple helix that unfold in the predenaturation range of temperatures. A second possible explanation is that substitutions of glycine by serine have much less effect on the stability of protein than the substitutions by arginine, cysteine, and aspartate previously studied.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Chem

author list (cited authors)

  • Pack, M., Constantinou, C. D., Kalia, K., Nielsen, K. B., & Prockop, D. J

citation count

  • 43

complete list of authors

  • Pack, M||Constantinou, CD||Kalia, K||Nielsen, KB||Prockop, DJ

publication date

  • November 1989