Partial characterization of protocollagen from embryonic cartilage. Academic Article uri icon


  • 1. Attempts were made to isolate and characterize the protocollagen that accumulates in connective tissue when the hydroxylation of proline and lysine is inhibited. The term protocollagen has been used to describe the proline-rich and lysine-rich polypeptide or polypeptides that serve as substrates for the formation of hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine during the synthesis of collagen. 2. Both protocollagen and newly synthesized collagen from embryonic cartilage were isolated as complex aggregates, which contained sulphated mucopolysaccharides and other proteins or polypeptides from the same tissue. The complexes containing protocollagen were similar to those containing newly synthesized collagen when examined with several different techniques. 3. After the complexes were denatured and disaggregated, zone centrifugation and gel filtration indicated that the denatured protocollagen was similar to the denatured newly synthesized collagen obtained from cartilage in which the hydroxylation was not inhibited, and it was also similar to purified alpha-collagen. The results suggest that, when the hydroxylation is inhibited, most of the protocollagen polypeptides that accumulate are as large as complete alpha-chains of collagen. 4. Significant purification of the protocollagen polypeptides was obtained with a new technique for DEAE-Sephadex chromatography in which urea was used to prevent aggregation of the samples and the column was eluted with guanidine thiocyanate. 5. Protocollagen polypeptides were completely hydrolysed to diffusible peptides by a specific collagenase. 6. It is not entirely clear whether the hydroxylation normally begins while relatively short protocollagen molecules are still attached to polysomes, or whether protocollagen molecules of the size of alpha-collagen are synthesized even when the hydroxylation is not inhibited. 7. Results obtained with puromycin suggest that some hydroxylation occurs with smaller polypeptides, but polypeptide chains approaching the size of alpha-collagen are required to obtain complete hydroxylation of the appropriate amino acid residues of protocollagen.

published proceedings

  • Biochem J

author list (cited authors)

  • Kivirikko, K. I., & Prockop, D. J.

citation count

  • 66

complete list of authors

  • Kivirikko, KI||Prockop, DJ

publication date

  • January 1967