The Banding Pattern of Collagen
When viewed in the electron microscope, one of the most striking structural features displayed by collagen is the regular banding pattern of its fibrils. This pattern, with a period (D) of ~65 nm in vertebrate collagens, is readily apparent after exposure to a staining solution of a heavy metal salt. Not all collagens occur as periodic-structured fibrils in this way; characteristic banding may be a hallmark of vertebrate interstitial collagen but it is far from being a criterion for the identification of all collagen types. We shall, nevertheless, be concerned here primarily with collagen in the periodic-structured fibrillar form and not with other forms, seemingly less regular in structure. Our main consideration will be with the detailed interpretation of the fibril banding pattern in terms of the distribution of stain-reactive side-chains along the collagen molecule.
KeywordsBanding Pattern Staining Pattern Collagen Fibril Charged Residue Collagen Molecule
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