collagen


collagen
collagenous /keuh laj"euh neuhs/, adj.
/kol"euh jeuhn/, n. Biochem.
any of a class of extracellular proteins abundant in higher animals, esp. in the skin, bone, cartilage, tendon, and teeth, forming strong insoluble fibers and serving as connective tissue between cells, yielding gelatin when denatured by boiling.
[1860-65; < Gk kólla glue + -GEN]

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Any of a class of organic compounds, the most abundant proteins in the animal kingdom, occurring widely in tendons, ligaments, dentin (see tooth), cartilage, and other connective tissues.

Their molecules share a triple-helix configuration. Collagens occur as whitish, inelastic fibres of great tensile strength and low solubility in water. Soluble when first synthesized (the form used in personal-care preparations), collagen changes to a more stable, insoluble form. Glue made from collagen in animal hides and skins is a widely used adhesive. Specially treated forms of collagen are used in medicine and surgery (including lip implants and other cosmetic surgery), in prostheses, and as sausage casings. Collagen is converted to gelatin by boiling it in water.

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      any of a group of proteins that are components of whitish, rather inelastic fibres of great tensile strength present in tendon and ligament and in the connective tissue layer of the skin—dermis—and in dentin and cartilage. Collagenous fibres occur in bundles up to several hundred microns wide, and the individual fibres can be separated into fine fibrils; the fibrils, furthermore, consist of even finer filaments with a periodic banded structure.

      Collagen is a scleroprotein (q.v.), being one of a family of proteins marked by low solubility in water. Collagen is especially rich in the amino acid glycine, and it is the only protein known to contain a substantial proportion of hydroxyproline. Upon exposure to boiling water, collagen is converted to gelatin.

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Universalium. 2010.

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