Procollagen-a precursor form of collagen. Academic Article uri icon


  • Current evidence indicates that the first form of collagen to be synthesized and secreted by connective tissue cells is a precursor form, called procollagen, which may have several functions in the biogenesis of collagen fibrils. The precursor consists of polypeptide chains, which are larger than those in the collagen molecule, because of peptide extensions at the amino terminal end of each chain, and the 3 chains apparently are linked by inter chain disulfide bonds in the amino terminal regions. The extensions have amino acid compositions, which are atypical for collagen. Antigenic responses to procollagen are directed largely toward the extensions, and immunological studies indicate that the extensions of procollagens, corresponding to different types of collagen, are distinct: interspecies differences are also apparent. Interchain disulfide bonding and triple helix formation occur at about the same time, during the intracellular biosynthesis of procollagen, suggesting a possible requirement for such bonds before triple helix can form. Enzyme activities have been described, which appear to be specific in catalyzing the conversion of procollagen to collagen, but this conversion is incomplete even in normal tissues. Diseases in cattle, sheep and man have been demonstrated in which the conversion of procollagen to collagen is defective. 77 references are cited.

published proceedings

  • Clin Orthop Relat Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Schofield, J. D., & Prockop, D. J.

citation count

  • 63

complete list of authors

  • Schofield, JD||Prockop, DJ

publication date

  • January 1973