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Review
, 268 (3), 302-16

Evolution of Collagens

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Review

Evolution of Collagens

Jean-Yves Exposito et al. Anat Rec.

Abstract

The extracellular matrix is often defined as the substance that gives multicellular organisms (from plants to vertebrates) their structural integrity, and is intimately involved in their development. Although the general functions of extracellular matrices are comparable, their compositions are quite distinct. One of the specific components of metazoan extracellular matrices is collagen, which is present in organisms ranging from sponges to humans. By comparing data obtained in diploblastic, protostomic, and deuterostomic animals, we have attempted to trace the evolution of collagens and collagen-like proteins. Moreover, the collagen story is closely involved with the emergence and evolution of metazoa. The collagen triple helix is one of numerous modules that arose during the metazoan radiation which permit the formation of large multimodular proteins. One of the advantages of this module is its involvement in oligomerization, in which it acts as a structural organizer that is not only relatively resistant to proteases but also permits the creation of multivalent supramolecular networks.

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