Procollagen messenger RNA levels and activity and collagen synthesis during the fetal development of sheep lung, tendon, and skin
The rates of type I collagen synthesis in sheep lung, tendon, and skin were evaluated during the latter half of fetal development and compared with the levels of type I procollagen mRNA, quantified by molecular hybridization with a type I procollagen specific complementary DNA, and with the activity of total procollagen mRNA measured by in vitro cell-free translation. In the lung and tendon, the levels of type I procollagen mRNA and activity of total procollagen mRNA parallel collagen synthesis during development. In the skin, however, type I collagen synthesis declines sharply during fetal development, but both type I procollagen mRNA levels and total procollagen mRNA activity remain at the high levels of early development. These observations suggest that in developing lung and tendon, type I procollagen mRNA levels are likely the major determinants of the levels of type I collagen synthesis. In contrast, the dichotomy between type I procollagen mRNA levels and rates of type I collagen synthesis in the developing sheep skin suggest the skin utilizes mechanisms in addition to mRNA levels to modulate expression of the type I collagen gene.