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J Mol Biol. 1994 Jan 7;235(1):80-3.

Vertebrate (chick) collagen fibrils formed in vivo can exhibit a reversal in molecular polarity.

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Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Manchester, England.


A reversal in molecular polarity can occur in vertebrate collagen fibrils. This has been demonstrated using a method for isolating, from chick embryo tendon, entire collagen fibrils 2 to 14 microns in length and suitable for electron-optical examination. A polarity reversal is present in some, but not all, of these fibrils. Such fibrils have two N-ends. The transition region, occupying several D-periods in which the reversal occurs, is not restricted to a central location in a fibril. Analysis of the fibril banding pattern through the transition region shows that the relative axial alignment of antiparallel molecules brings oppositely-directed C-telopeptides into axial register. This could allow antiparallel molecules to be covalently linked via polymeric cross-links involving these C-telopeptides.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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