Folding abnormalities of the triple helix have been demonstrated in collagen diseases such as osteogenesis imperfecta in which the mutation leads to the substitution of a single Gly in the (Gly-X-Y)n sequence pattern by a larger residue. Model peptides can be used to clarify the details of normal collagen folding and the consequences of the interruption of that folding by a Gly substitution. NMR and CD studies show that placement of a (GPO)4 nucleation domain at the N terminus rather than the C terminus of a native collagen sequence allows the formation of a stable triple helix but alters the folding mechanism. Although C- to N-terminal directional folding occurs when the nucleation domain is at the C terminus, there is no preferential folding direction when the nucleation domain is at the N terminus. The lack of zipper-like directional folding does not interfere with triple-helix formation, and when a Gly residue is replaced by Ser to model an osteogenesis imperfecta mutation, the peptide with the N-terminal (GPO)4 domain can still form a good triple helix N-terminal to the mutation site. These peptide studies raise the possibility that mutant collagen could fold in a C to N direction in a zipper-like manner up to the mutation site and that completion of the triple helix N-terminal to the mutation would involve an alternative mechanism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology