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Mol Cell Biol. 2004 Jul;24(13):6049-57.

Development of a functional skin matrix requires deposition of collagen V heterotrimers.

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  • 1Institut de Biologie et Chimie des Proteines, UMR CNRS 5086, IFR128 BioSciences Lyon-Gerland, France.


Collagen V is a minor component of the heterotypic I/III/V collagen fibrils and the defective product in most cases of classical Ehlers Danlos syndrome (EDS). The present study was undertaken to elucidate the impact of collagen V mutations on skin development, the most severely affected EDS tissues, using mice harboring a targeted deletion of the alpha2(V) collagen gene (Col5a2). Contrary to the original report, our studies indicate that the Col5a2 deletion (a.k.a. the pN allele) represents a functionally null mutation that affects matrix assembly through a complex sequence of events. First the mutation impairs assembly and/or secretion of the alpha1(V)(2)alpha2(V) heterotrimer with the result that the alpha1(V) homotrimer is the predominant species deposited into the matrix. Second, the alpha1(V) homotrimer is excluded from incorporation into the heterotypic collagen fibrils and this in turn severely impairs matrix organization. Third, the mutant matrix stimulates a compensatory loop by the alpha1(V) collagen gene that leads to additional deposition of alpha1(V) homotrimers. These data therefore underscore the importance of the collagen V heterotrimer in dermal fibrillogenesis. Furthermore, reduced thickness of the basement membranes underlying the epidermis and increased apoptosis of the stromal fibroblasts in pN/pN skin strongly indicate additional roles of collagen V in the development of a functional skin matrix.

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