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The Intracellular Biosynthesis of Collagen:  Some Possible Implications for Diseases of Bone and Other Connective Tissues

Darwin J. Prockop, MD, PhD
Arch Intern Med. 1969;124(5):563-570. doi:10.1001/archinte.1969.00300210045006.
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The work performed in this laboratory in the last several years bears only indirectly on the subject of this symposium, but it probably provides a basic framework for biochemical approaches to the problems which occur in bone as a result of long-term dialysis. Collagen is the principal organic constituent of bone, and one of the questions we and others have asked is 1: How do cells in connective tissue synthesize collagen? Before discussing this question, however, I will present a brief review of the structure of the collagen molecule as it is known.2-5

Structure of Collagen  The collagen fibers in connective tissues are made up of small fibrils which have a characteristic pattern when examined by electron microscopy (Fig 1). The most characteristic feature of these fibrils is a series of major crossbands which are separated by a distance of approximately 700 Angstroms (A). As was demonstrated primarily

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