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J Biol Chem. 1992 Dec 5;267(34):24533-7.

The structural organization of type IV collagen. Identification of three NC1 populations in the glomerular basement membrane.

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  • 1Department of Nephrology, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.


Type IV collagen, which has long been assumed to contain two alpha 1(IV) and one alpha 2(IV) chains, also contains alpha 3(IV), alpha 4(IV), and alpha 5(IV) chains. Stoichiometry of collagenous alpha(IV) chains differs among tissues, suggesting the existence of subclasses of type IV collagen, each with a unique chain composition. This study seeks to define, by characterization of subunit compositions of NC1 domain populations, the structural organization of type IV collagen from bovine glomerular basement membrane. NC1 hexamers from type IV collagen were separated on two affinity chromatography columns, one containing monoclonal antibodies to the alpha 3 chain, and another, to the alpha 1 chain. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, immunoblotting, reversed phase high-performance liquid chromatography, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay identified three NC1 hexamer populations: 1) a hexamer composed of (alpha 1)2 and (alpha 2)2 homodimers; 2) a hexamer composed of (alpha 3)2 and (alpha 4)2 homodimers; 3) a hexamer containing all four alpha chains connected in heterodimers, alpha 1-alpha 3 and alpha 2-alpha 4. Results suggest that there are two distinct type IV collagen molecules, one composed of alpha 1(IV) and alpha 2(IV) chains and another composed of alpha 3(IV) and alpha 4(IV) chains. Furthermore, polymerization occurs between molecules with the same chain composition and between molecules with different chain composition. Moreover, crosslinking between different alpha chains is restricted, thus limiting the number of possible macromolecular structures.

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