Collagen Synthesis by Bovine Aortic Endothelial Cells in Culture

Helene Sage, Ed Crouch, Paul Bornstein

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75 Scopus citations


Endothelial cells isolated from bovine aorta synthesize and secrete type III procollagen in culture. The procollagen, which represents the major collagenous protein in culture medium, was specifically precipitated by antibodies to bovine type III procollagen and was purified by diethyl-aminoethylcellulose chromatography. Unequivocal identification of the pepsin-treated collagen was made by direct comparison with type III collagen isolated by pepsin digestion of bovine skin, utilizing peptide cleavage patterns generated by vertebrate collagenase, CNBr, and mast cell protease. The type III collagen was hydroxylated to a high degree, having a hydroxyproline/proline ratio of 1.5:1.0. Pulse-chase studies indicated that the procollagen was not processed to procollagen intermediates or to collagen. Pepsin treatment of cell layers, followed by salt fractionation at acidic and neutral pH, produced several components which were sensitive to bacterial collagenase and which comigrated on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with αA, βB, and type IV collagen chains purified from human placenta by similar techniques. Bovine aortic endothelial cells also secreted fibronectin and a bacterial collagenase-insensitive glycoprotein which, after reduction, had a molecular weight of 135 000 on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (using procollagen molecular weight standards) and which was not precipitable by antibodies to cold-insoluble globulin or to α2-macroglobulin. Collagen biosynthesis by these cells provides an interesting model system for studying the polarity of protein secretion and the attachment of cells to an extracellular matrix. The presence of type III collagen in the subendothelium and the specific interaction of this protein with fibronectin and platelets suggest the involvement of this collagen in thrombus formation following endothelial cell injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5433-5442
Number of pages10
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jan 1 1979


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