Effects of flexibility of the α2 chain of type I collagen on collagenase cleavage

Published on May 12, 2018in Journal of Structural Biology3.071
· DOI :10.1016/J.JSB.2018.05.002
Arya Mekkat3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Tufts University),
Erik Poppleton6
Estimated H-index: 6
(Tufts University)
+ 5 AuthorsYu-Shan Lin23
Estimated H-index: 23
(Tufts University)
Abstract Cleavage of collagen by collagenases such as matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP-1) is a key step in development, tissue remodeling, and tumor proliferation. The abundant heterotrimeric type I collagen composed of two α1(I) chains and one α2(I) chain is efficiently cleaved by MMP-1 at a unique site in the triple helix, a process which may be initiated by local unfolding within the peptide chains. Atypical homotrimers of the α1(I) chain, found in embryonic and cancer tissues, are very resistant to MMP cleavage. To investigate MMP-1 cleavage, recombinant homotrimers were constructed with sequences from the MMP cleavage regions of human collagen chains inserted into a host bacterial collagen protein system. All triple-helical constructs were cleaved by MMP-1, with α2(I) homotrimers cleaved efficiently at a rate similar to that seen for α1(II) and α1(III) homotrimers, while α1(I) homotrimers were cleaved at a much slower rate. The introduction of destabilizing Gly to Ser mutations within the human collagenase susceptible region of the α2(I) chain did not interfere with MMP-1 cleavage. Molecular dynamics simulations indicated a greater degree of transient hydrogen bond breaking in α2(I) homotrimers compared with α1(I) homotrimers at the MMP-1 cleavage site, and showed an extensive disruption of hydrogen bonding in the presence of a Gly to Ser mutation, consistent with chymotrypsin digestion results. This study indicates that α2(I) homotrimers are susceptible to MMP-1, proves that the presence of an α1(I) chain is not a requirement for α2(I) cleavage, and supports the importance of local unfolding of α2(I) in collagenase cleavage.
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