Structural correlation between collagen VI microfibrils and collagen VI banded aggregates

J Struct Biol. 2006 Jun;154(3):312-26. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2006.03.023. Epub 2006 Apr 27.


Collagen VI is a component of the extracellular matrix that is able to form structural links with cells. Collagen VI monomers cross-link into tetramers that come together to form long molecular chains known as microfibrils. Collagen VI tetramers are also the most likely candidates for the formation of banded aggregates with an axial periodicity of about 105 nm that are seen in the retinas of people suffering from age-related macular degeneration and Sorsby's fundus dystrophy, in the vitreous of patients with full thickness macular holes and in the intervertebral discs of normal individuals. Here, a protocol is developed to carry out a structural comparison between the microfibrils, which are known to be made of collagen VI tetramers, and the banded aggregates. The comparison shows that the banded aggregates are easily explained as being a lateral assembly of microfibrils, thus supporting the hypothesis that they too are made of collagen VI. Understanding the role played by the collagen VI aggregates in normal and pathological conditions will help to throw light on the pathologies with which they are associated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Collagen / chemistry
  • Collagen Type VI / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / pathology
  • Microfibrils / chemistry
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Protein Conformation
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retina / ultrastructure


  • Collagen Type VI
  • Collagen