A functional requirement of several mammalian tissues is an ability to stretch. The protein elastin, a naturally occurring rubberlike elastomer found in many extracellular matrices, such as those of blood vessels and lung, provides this property. It is the major protein component of the so-called elastic fibers of connective tissue. This chapter describes the biochemical and ultrastructural characteristics of these naturally occurring elastic fibers with particular emphasis on the insoluble amorphous elastin component. The other component of elastic fibers is a glycoprotein or a family of glycoproteins, which has been designated as the microfibrillar component. The microfibrils, which comprise approximately 10% of the total volume of the elastic fibers, are thought to provide both a matrix into which the insoluble protein elastin is incorporated, and a mechanism by which shape and size of elastic fibers may be controlled.


Amino Acid Composition Elastic Fiber Elastic Tissue Lysyl Oxidase Glass Point 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl Franzblau
    • 1
  • Barbara Faris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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