HSP47 is a molecular chaperone that plays an unknown role during the assembly and transport of procollagen. Our previous studies showed that, unlike most chaperones, HSP47 interacts with a correctly folded substrate. We suggested that HSP47 either stabilizes the correctly folded collagen helix from heat denaturation or prevents lateral aggregation prior to its transport from the endoplasmic reticulum. In this study we have addressed the role of triple helix stability in the binding of HSP47 to procollagen by expressing procollagen molecules with differing thermal stabilities and analyzing their ability to interact with HSP47 within the endoplasmic reticulum. Our results show that HSP47 interacts with thermostable procollagen molecules, suggesting that helix stabilization is not the primary function of HSP47 and that the interaction of HSP47 with procollagen depends upon the presence of a minimum of one Gly-X-Arg triplet within the triple helical domain. Interestingly, procollagen chains containing high proportions of stabilizing triplets formed triple helices and interacted with HSP47 even in the absence of proline hydroxylation, demonstrating that recognition does not depend upon this modification. Our results support the view that HSP47 functions early in the secretory pathway by preventing the lateral aggregation of procollagen chains.