Electrostatic interactions lead to the formation of asymmetric collagen-phosphophoryn aggregates

Thomas Dahl, Arthur Veis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


In bone and dentin the formation and mineralization of the extra cellular matrix structure is a complex process highly dependent on intermolecular interactions. In dentin, the phosphophoryns (PP) and type I collagen (COL1) are the major constituents implicated in mineralization. Thus, as a first step in understanding the tissue organization, we have initiated a study of their interaction as a function of pH, ionic strength, and relative concentrations or mixing ratios. Complex formation has been analyzed by dynamic light scattering to detect aggregate formation and by rotary shadowing electron microscopy (EM) to determine aggregate shape. The EM data showed that at the pH values studied, the PP-COL1 interaction leads to the formation of large fibrillar aggregates in which the PP are present along the fibril surfaces. The quantitative phase distribution data showed a 1/1molar equivalence at the maximum aggregation point, not at electrostatic PP-COL1 equivalence. As the ionic strength was raised, the PP-COL1 aggregates became smaller but the binding and asymmetric fibrillar aggregation persisted. In EM, the PP appear as dense spheres. Along the surfaces of the collagen aggregates, the PP are larger and more open or extended, suggesting that COL1-bound PP may undergo a conformational change, opening up so that a single PP molecule might interact with and electrostatically link several COL1 molecules. This might have important implications for dentin structure, stability, and mineralization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-213
Number of pages8
JournalConnective tissue research
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 2003


  • Collagen I
  • Electrostatic interactions
  • Phase separation
  • Phosphophoryn
  • Specific binding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Biochemistry
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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