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The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: Richard W. Farndale

The Collagenorama, or how collagen sees the rest of the world

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Richard W. Farndale
Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, UK

Collagens collectively comprise the most abundant protein in the vertebrate organism. Their interactions with proteins and other biomolecules provide essential mechanical support for tissues and organs. A growing family of cellular receptors can interact with the collagens. As a means of understanding how collagen interacts with a wide range of probably more than 100 different binding partners, we synthesised two libraries of peptides that represent the triple-helical domains of fibrillar collagens II and III. Using these in ELISA-like assays, we have identified motifs that bind a series of different molecules, the collagen-binding integrins, discoidin domain receptors, collagen-binding immune receptors as well as extracellular matrix proteins including von Willebrand factor, SPARC and others. The next challenge is to understand the availability of such binding motifs on the surface of the fibre, and how this regulates the ability of collagen to elicit signals from cells as well as simply to offer them support.


Host: Donald Gullberg <donald.gullberg@biomed.uib.no>, Department of Biomedicine