Glycobiology and Extracellular Matrices
Structure of a collagen VI α3 chain VWA domain array: adaptability and functional implications of myopathy causing mutationsCollagen VI is a ubiquitous heterotrimeric protein of the extracellular matrix (ECM) that plays an essential role in the proper maintenance of skeletal muscle. Mutations in collagen VI lead to a spectrum of congenital myopathies, from the mild Bethlem myopathy to the severe Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy. Collagen VI contains only a short triple helix and consists primarily of von Willebrand factor type A (VWA) domains, protein–protein interaction modules found in a range of ECM proteins.
C-terminal proteolysis of the collagen VI α3 chain by BMP-1 and proprotein convertase(s) releases endotrophin in fragments of different sizesThe assembly of collagen VI microfibrils is a multistep process in which proteolytic processing within the C-terminal globular region of the collagen VI α3 chain plays a major role. However, the mechanisms involved remain elusive. Moreover, C5, the short and most C-terminal domain of the α3 chain, recently has been proposed to be released as an adipokine that enhances tumor progression, fibrosis, inflammation, and insulin resistance and has been named “endotrophin.” Serum endotrophin could be a useful biomarker to monitor the progression of such disorders as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, systemic sclerosis, and kidney diseases.
Heterogeneity of Collagen VI Microfibrils: STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF NON-COLLAGENOUS REGIONSCollagen VI, a collagen with uncharacteristically large N- and C-terminal non-collagenous regions, forms a distinct microfibrillar network in most connective tissues. It was long considered to consist of three genetically distinct α chains (α1, α2, and α3). Intracellularly, heterotrimeric molecules associate to form dimers and tetramers, which are then secreted and assembled to microfibrils. The identification of three novel long collagen VI α chains, α4, α5, and α6, led to the question if and how these may substitute for the long α3 chain in collagen VI assembly.