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Disruption of one intra-chain disulphide bond in the carboxyl-terminal propeptide of the proα1(I) chain of type I procollagen permits slow assembly and secretion of overmodified, but stable procollagen trimers and results in mild osteogenesis imperfecta

Abstract

Type I procollagen is a heterotrimer comprised of two proα1(I) chains and one proα2(I) chain. Chain recognition, association, and alignment of proα chains into correct registration are thought to occur through interactions between the C-terminal propeptide domains of the three chains. The C-propeptide of each chain contains a series of cysteine residues (eight in proα1(I) and seven in proα2(I)), the last four of which form intra-chain disulphide bonds. The remaining cysteine residues participate in inter-chain stabilisation. Because these residues are conserved, they are thought to be important for folding and assembly of procollagen. We identified a mutation (3897C→G) that substituted tryptophan for the cysteine at position 1299 in proα1(I) (C1299W, the first cysteine that participates in intra-chain bonds) and resulted in mild osteogenesis imperfecta. The patient was born with a fractured clavicle and four rib fractures. By 18 months of age he had had no other fractures and was on the 50th centile for length and weight. The proband's mother, maternal aunt, and grandfather had the same mutation and had few fractures, white sclerae, and discoloured teeth, but their heights were within the normal range. In the patient's cells the defective chains remained as monomers for over 80 minutes (about four times normal) and were overmodified. Some secreted procollagens were also overmodified but had normal thermal stability, consistent with delayed, but normal helix formation. This intra-chain bond may stabilise the C-propeptide and promote rapid chain association. Other regions of the C-propeptide thus play more prominent roles in chain registration and triple helix nucleation.

  • osteogenesis imperfecta
  • procollagen
  • mutation
  • carboxyl-terminal propeptide
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