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Matrix Biol. 2007 Oct;26(8):604-14. Epub 2007 Jun 27.

Selective retention and degradation of molecules with a single mutant alpha1(I) chain in the Brtl IV mouse model of OI.

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Department of Biochemistry "A. Castellani", University of Pavia, Via Taramelli 3B, 27100 Pavia, Italy.


We investigated the secretion, matrix incorporation and interactions of molecules with one and two mutant alpha1(I) collagen chains in the Brtl IV murine model for Osteogenesis Imperfecta, carrying a Gly-349 to Cys substitution in one col1a1 allele. We detected a significant deviation from the expected 25 and 50% content of the molecules with no (37-46%) and one (26-40%) mutant chains in skin and bone as well as in fibroblast and osteoblast cell culture media. Steady-state labeling with (35)S-Cys demonstrated incomplete secretion of the mutant collagen in cell culture, particularly molecules containing one mutant chain. Pulse and pulse-chase experiments revealed slower secretion of the latter. An enlargement of endoplasmic reticulum in skin fibroblasts from Brtl IV mice, clearly visible by electron microscopy, supported the abnormal secretion identified by biochemical studies. We observed increased susceptibility of molecules with one mutant chain to proteolytic degradation in vitro, but we did not detect significant selective degradation in cell culture media. Mutant collagen molecules incorporated from the media into newly deposited fibers and into fully crosslinked and mature matrix in the same ratio as they were secreted. Specific labeling of reactive -SH demonstrated that about half of the Cys349-SH groups in the mutant molecules were exposed and potentially available for aberrant interactions with other molecules inside or outside the cells. Based on these and our previous findings, we argue that the outcome in Brtl IV may be significantly affected by cellular stress and malfunction caused by the retention and degradation of newly synthesized mutant collagen.

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