Samples (1-2mg) of purified human type I, II and III collagens and alpha1(I) and alpha2 chains were digested with clostridiopeptidase A and the released peptides analysed by ion-exchange high-pressure liquid chromatography. Specific ‘fingerprints’ were produced for each type of collagen. The reproducible nature of these ‘fingerprints’ and the reconstitution of the type I ‘fingerprint’ from the ‘fingerprints’ of the component alpha1(I) and alpha2 chains showed that the specificity of these ‘fingerprints’ was related to the primary structure of each type of collagen. In addition, some of the differences observed between the ‘fingerprints’ of the alpha1(I) and alpha2 chains of type I collagen were shown to be suitable for the quantitative analysis of these chains.

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