Common Interruptions in the Repeating Tripeptide Sequence of Non-fibrillar Collagens: Sequence Analysis and Structural Studies on Triple-helix Peptide Models

Geetha Thiagarajan, Yingjie Li, Angela Mohs, Christopher Strafaci, Magdalena Popiel, Jean Baum, Barbara Brodsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


Interruptions in the repeating (Gly-X1-X2)n amino acid sequence pattern are found in the triple-helix domains of all non-fibrillar collagens, and perturbations to the triple-helix at such sites are likely to play a role in collagen higher-order structure and function. This study defines the sequence features and structural consequences of the most common interruption, where one residue is missing from the tripeptide pattern, Gly-X1-X2-Gly-AA1-Gly-X1-X2, designated G1G interruptions. Residues found within G1G interruptions are predominantly hydrophobic (70%), followed by a significant amount of charged residues (16%), and the Gly-X1-X2 triplets flanking the interruption are atypical. Studies on peptide models indicate the degree of destabilization is much greater when Pro is in the interruption, GP, than when hydrophobic residues (GF, GY) are present, and a rigid Gly-Pro-Hyp tripeptide adjacent to the interruption leads to greater destabilization than a flexible Gly-Ala-Ala sequence. Modeling based on NMR data indicates the Phe residue within a GF interruption is located on the outside of the triple helix. The G1G interruptions resemble a previously studied collagen interruption GPOGAAVMGPO, designated G4G-type, in that both are destabilizing, but allow continuation of rod-like triple helices and maintenance of the single residue stagger throughout the imperfection, with a loss of axial register of the superhelix on both sides. Both kinds of interruptions result in a highly localized perturbation in hydrogen bonding and dihedral angles, but the hydrophobic residue of a G4G interruption packs near the central axis of the superhelix, while the hydrophobic residue of a G1G interruption is located on the triple-helix surface. The different structural consequences of G1G and G4G interruptions in the repeating tripeptide sequence pattern suggest a physical basis for their differential susceptibility to matrix metalloproteinases in type X collagen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)736-748
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 22 2008


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


  • collagen
  • interruptions
  • peptides
  • structure
  • triple-helix

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