Susceptibility of the cartilage collagens types II, IX and XI to degradation by the cysteine proteinases, cathepsins B and L

FEBS Lett. 1990 Aug 20;269(1):189-93. doi: 10.1016/0014-5793(90)81151-d.


We have investigated the susceptibility of both the helical and non-helical regions of isolated rat chondrosarcoma collagens, types II, IX and XI, to degradation by the cysteine proteinases, cathepsins B and L. Both enzymes degrade these collagens at temperatures from 20 to 37 degrees C and pH values from 3.5 to 7.0. Cleavage occurs only within the non-helical domains unless the helix is destabilized. Cathepsin L is more effective than cathepsin B on a molar basis and they appear to cleave at different sites. Since these cathepsins can degrade cartilage collagens at pH values near neutrality, they may contribute to the destruction of cartilage observed in arthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cathepsin B / metabolism*
  • Cathepsin L
  • Cathepsins / metabolism*
  • Collagen / metabolism*
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Endopeptidases*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Peptide Mapping
  • Temperature


  • Collagen
  • Cathepsins
  • Endopeptidases
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Cathepsin B
  • CTSL protein, human
  • Cathepsin L
  • Ctsl protein, rat