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J Biol Chem. 1985 Sep 15;260(20):11322-9.

A heterozygous collagen defect in a variant of the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome type VII. Evidence for a deleted amino-telopeptide domain in the pro-alpha 2(I) chain.


A structural defect in the alpha 2(I) chain of type I collagen was characterized in a new case of the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome type VII. The patient's skin, fascia, and bone collagens all showed an abnormal additional chain, pN-alpha 2(I)s, running slower than the alpha 2(I) chain on electrophoresis. The extension was shown to be on the amino-terminal fragment of pN-alpha (I)s by cleavage with human collagenase, but pepsin was unable to convert pN-alpha 2(I)s to alpha 2(I). Skin collagen was 4-fold more extractable and contained fewer beta-dimers and a lower concentration of cross-linking amino acids than control skin collagen. Electron micrographs of both dermis and bone showed markedly irregular ragged outlines of the collagen fibrils in cross-section, although the patient had no clinical signs of bone disease. Procollagen secreted by her skin fibroblasts in culture showed equal amounts of the normal and abnormal alpha 2(I) chains on pepsin digestion. Before pepsin, the pN-alpha 2(I) component ran as a doublet on electrophoresis; pepsin removed only the normal slower chain. The suspected deletion in pN-alpha 2(I)s was traced by CNBr peptide analysis to the N-propeptide fragment, which behaved on electrophoresis about 15-20 residues smaller than that from the normal pN-alpha 2(I) chain. The simplest genetic explanation is a spontaneous heterozygote in which one normal and one abnormal allele for the pro-alpha 2(I) gene are expressed, the protein defect being a deletion of the junction domain that spans the N-propeptidase cleavage site and the N-telopeptide cross-linking sequence.

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