Scientists develop program to define stable sequences for collagen synthesis

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Electric charge Collagen

(Credit: Hartgerink Lab/Rice University)
(Credit: Hartgerink Lab/Rice University)
Researchers in Texas have developed a program that details stable forms of collagen proteins for synthesis in the lab; with the ability to synthesize custom collagen possibly leading to better drug design and treatment of disease, while also having strong implications for the cosmetics industry.

Rice University researchers have made a major step toward synthesizing custom collagen, having learned how to make collagen, and are now digging into its molecular structure to see how it forms and interacts with biological systems.

Jeffrey Hartgerink, an associate professor of chemistry and of bioengineering, and his former graduate student Jorge Fallas, now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington, wrote a new computer program that predicts the most stable structures of nanometer-sized collagen.

In nature, these small structures link into chains that serve as connective tissue in the body. Hartgerink and Fallas followed up the computer research by making and testing the collagen detailed in their calculations.

New program

In their work, Hartgerink and Fallas analyzed charged interactions between amino acids that attract one strand to another to form the triple helix. "We look at positively charged and negatively charged amino acids and where they need to be aligned to result in stabilization," ​Hartgerink said.

Their computer program calculates the stability of each possible alignment of a given set of peptide strands to find the best matches of positively and negatively charged amino acids.

It then assigns each set a score, based on the net positive or negative charge of the entire helix.

"If we have a positive charge in a peptide sequence, it will destabilize the triple helix, and we score that as a minus 1,"​ Hartgerink said.

"If we have a negative charge, that also destabilizes the helix and we also score that as a minus 1. But if those charges line up in what we call the axial geometry, it negates the destabilization. This triple helix would have a score of 0, which is good.”

An example of the program is shown in the picture where the colored portion of the molecule shows positively charged lysine and negatively charged aspartate interacting in the required axial geometry that stabilizes the triple helix.

Development interest

As a result, the study, which was published in the online journal Nature Communications​, will be of interest to physicians and scientists who work in reconstructive surgery, cosmetics and tissue engineering, seeking to develop further understanding of collagen structures.

Collagen is a type of protein found extensively throughout the body that supports skin, internal organs, muscles, bone, and cartilage. 

Related topics Formulation & Science Skin Care

Related news

Related products

show more

Exosomes: Passing Trend or Transformative Reality?

Exosomes: Passing Trend or Transformative Reality?

Content provided by Naolys | 26-Mar-2024 | White Paper

Exosomes, microscopic vesicles naturally present in abundance within Plant Cells, have garnered significant attention within the scientific and cosmetic...

How Nutricosmetics Can Enhance Skin Beauty

How Nutricosmetics Can Enhance Skin Beauty

Content provided by Activ'Inside | 11-Dec-2023 | White Paper

In the ever-evolving realm of nutricosmetics, where inner wellness meets outer beauty, few natural ingredients have captured the spotlight quite like grapes.

Ultimate Antimicrobial Solution for BPC

Ultimate Antimicrobial Solution for BPC

Content provided by Acme-Hardesty Company | 11-Oct-2023 | White Paper

Sharomix™ EG10, a versatile broad-spectrum antimicrobial liquid blend for preserving personal care products, ensures safety at usage levels ranging from...

Acme-Hardesty Expands Product Line into Canada

Acme-Hardesty Expands Product Line into Canada

Content provided by Acme-Hardesty Company | 07-Jul-2023 | Product Brochure

Acme-Hardesty’s latest expansion into Canada includes Resplanta®, Botaneco®, and BYK from our partners Sharon Personal Care and Eckart Effect Pigments...

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more