Molecular structure and physical properties of type IV collagen in solution

David E. Birk, Frederick H. Silver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The physical properties of intact type IV collagen from the mouse EHS sarcoma were studied in acid solution using laser light scattering and viscometry. The experimentally observed values of molecular weight, translational diffusion coefficient, particle scattering factor at 175.5° and a wavelength of 633 nm and intrinsic viscosity at 22°C were 532000, 0.66 × 10-7 cm2 s-1, 0.492 and 74.7 ml/g respectively. Plots of Kc/R0 versus collagen concentration were linear with a slope of approximately 0, indicating that under the conditions studied, type IV collagen molecules do not form supra-molecular aggregates. Experimentally determined translational diffusion coefficients closely approximated the calculated value for a rod-like molecule 424 nm long and 1.5 nm in diameter. Based on this observation, it is concluded that the type IV collagen molecule translates like a bent rigid rod similar to the interstitial collagens. However, the low intrinsic viscosity and larger value of the particle scattering factor for type IV collagen molecules in comparison with the interstitial collagens indicate that type IV collagen is considerably more flexible. Physical measurements on molecules in solution are consistent with a model of the type IV molecule containing numerous flexible bends with bend angles less than 125°. It is concluded that the type IV collagen molecule behaves like a worm-like rod in solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-10
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Energy(all)


  • EHS sarcoma
  • Type IV collagen
  • basement membrane
  • light scattering

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