1. The major protein (comprising over half of that in mammals) of the white fibers of connective tissue, cartilage, and bone; insoluble in water but can be altered to easily digestible, soluble gelatins by boiling in water, dilute acids, or alkalis. It is high in glycyl, l-alanyl, l-prolyl, and l-4-hydroxyprolyl residues, but is low in sulfur and has no l-tryptophanyl residues. It comprises a family of genetically distinct molecules all of which have a unique triple helix configuration of three polypeptide subunits known as α-chains; at least 18 types of collagen have been identified, each with a different polypeptide chain.
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