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1. The interaction of acid mucopolysaccharides of connective tissue with solubilized collagen of native, or near-native, structure was investigated by free solution electrophoresis at pH7.0. 2. Complex-formation was detected by the appearance of a third peak in the ascending limb only, indicating reversible association. 3. Complex-formation was destroyed by prior heating of solubilized collagen, indicating a probable requirement for high molecular weight or internal structure of the protein. 4. Hyaluronate and chondroitin sulphate of mol.wt. 50000 gave complexes with soluble collagen at I 0.4, whereas heparin and chondroitin sulphate of mol.wt. 15000-18000 did not. All mucopolysaccharides yielded complexes at I 0.1. The stability of the complex appears mainly dependent on electrostatic forces and is increased with increase in chain length of the polysaccharide. 5. Solubilized collagen interacted to yield gels with the ;native' chondroitin sulphate-protein macro-molecule from cartilage. 6. A schematic model for the interaction of collagen and chondroitin sulphate-protein macromolecules shows parallel-ordered interaction of collagen fibrils with chondroitin sulphate side chains of the chondroitin sulphate-protein macromolecule. The biological implications of this model are discussed, particularly in relation to the ordered structures and the ionic-network properties of the intercellular components of connective tissue.

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  • Robert C Martin

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