The effect of glycine-to-arginine mutations in the alpha 1 (I)-chain on collagen triple-helix structure in lethal perinatal osteogenesis imperfecta was studied by determination of the helix denaturation temperature and by computerized molecular modelling. Arginine substitutions at glycine residues 391 and 667 resulted in similar small decreases in helix stability. Molecular modelling suggested that the glycine-to-arginine-391 mutant resulted in only a relatively small localized disruption to the helix structure. Thus the glycine-to-arginine substitutions may lead to only a small structural abnormality of the collagen helix, and it is most likely that the over-modification of lysine, poor secretion, increased degradation and other functional sequelae result from a kinetic defect in collagen helix formation resulting from the mutation.

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