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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1987 Aug 19;930(1):39-47.

Effects of preformed proline and proline amino acid precursors (including glutamine) on collagen synthesis in human fibroblast cultures.


A technique of derivatizing proline and 4-hydroxyproline with 7-chloro-4-nitrobenzo-2-oxa-1,3-diazole was used to measure the radioactivities, concentrations and specific activities of proline and hydroxyproline. The technique was used to study the conditions of procollagen synthesis in cultured human foreskin fibroblasts. Procollagen synthesis appeared to be independent of the proline concentration in the medium, in the presence of glutamine, when monitored by the assay of non-dialyzable hydroxyproline, but not when monitored by [14C]proline incorporation. In the absence of unlabelled proline added to labelled proline in the medium, the specific activity of the secreted procollagen did not reach a plateau over a 24-h period. When the medium was supplemented with glutamine, glutamic acid, or aspartic acid, both the radioactivity and concentration of intracellular free proline decreased. Pyrrolidone-2-carboxylic acid and ornithine both induced a slight increase in concentration of the intracellular free proline. Glutamine competed with [14C]proline for incorporation into prolyl-tRNA and procollagen, independently of free intracellular proline, and it stimulated the biosynthesis of procollagen (expressed as non-dialyzable hydroxyproline) by a factor of 2.3.

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