Did you Know? Collagen is the most abundant protein found in mammals, accounting for roughly 25% of the protein content. It is, pretty much, connective tissue and is found in many parts of the body including…
And Blood Vessels
What It looks like
Size and Structure The tropocollagen or "collagen molecule”, as one might say, is a subunit of larger collagen aggregates such as fibrils. It is approximately 300 nm long and 1.5 nm in diameter, made up of three polypeptide strands, “alpha chains” as what that same person might also say, each possessing the conformation of a left handed helix. These three left-handed helices are twisted together into a right handed coiled coil, a triple helix or “super helix” according to that very same person, a cooperative quaternary structure stabilized by numerous hydrogen bonds.
Five types of collagen account for 90% found in the body Collagen One: skin, tendon, vascular, ligature, organs, bone (main component of bone) Collagen Two: cartilage (main component of cartilage) Collagen Three: reticulate (main component of reticular fibers), commonly found alongside type I. Collagen Four: forms bases of cell basement membrane Collagen Five: Cells surfaces, hair and placenta
Disorders Brittle Bone disease (Osteogenesis imperfecta): a deficiency of type I collagen EDS (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome): Lows- loose, unstable joints, Flat Feet, and low muscle tone Highs- velvety smooth skin, SUPER flexibility (like Mr. Fantastic…almost)
He Truly is Fantastic
Intrigue When collagen (from say… cow tendons or horse ligaments) is heated, it looses all of its structure. The triple helix unwinds and the chains separate. When this denatured mass of tangled chains cools, they absorb the surrounding water to form gelatin. MMMMMM JELL-O
Scurvy Hydroxyproline, which is oh so critical for collagen stability, is created by modifying normal proline amino acids after the collagen chain is built. The reaction requires vitamin C to assist in the addition of oxygen. Vitamin C deficiency slows the production of hydroxyproline and stops the construction of new collagen, ultimately causing scurvy. The symptoms of scurvy--loss of teeth and easy bruising-- are caused by the lack of collagen to repair the wear-and-tear caused by everyday activities.
Every third amino acid is a glycine, and many of the remaining amino acids are proline or hydroxyproline.