The primary fibrous protein in skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bone. Collagen is composed of repeating units of glycine-proline-hydroxyproline that form linear polypeptide chains. Three chains are then twisted and interlocked with hydrogen bonding to form a rigid helix structure. Collagen will irreversibly hydrolyze, or denature, in hot water. This conversion process breaks the hydrogen bonds, thus separating the strands and forming a water-soluble gelatin. Collagen containing materials, such as hides, bones and fish, have been used to make animal glues since ancient times. Tanning processes to make leather use polyfunctional phenolic materials (tannins) to crosslink, and permanently stabilize, the polypeptide chains in the collagen.
Synonyms and Related Terms
ossein; colágeno (Esp.); collagène (Fr.); collagene (It)
Soluble in dilute acids. Insoluble in water but can be hydrolyzed with hot water to form gelatin.
Collagen is the only protein known to contain large proportions of hydroxyproline.
J.S. Mills, R.White, The Organic Chemistry of Museum Objects, Butterworth Heinemann, London, 1994.
Sources Checked for Data in Record
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