Procollagen production and procollagen messenger RNA levels and activity in human lung fibroblasts during periods of rapid and stationary growth
The production of procollagen molecules by human diploid fetal lung fibroblasts (HFL-1 cells) remains constant in both rapid and stationary growth phases. However, log phase cells degrade 3-fold more newly synthesized collagen inside the cell prior to secretion than do stationary phase cells. Procollagen mRNA levels, measured by hybridization with a type I procollagen mRNA-specific complementary DNA, are approximately 2-fold higher in confluent cells than in log phase cells. There are no significant differences in the ability of either log phase or confluent HFL-1 cell procollagen mRNA to be translated in an in vitro cell-free translation system. Therefore, the ability of HFL-1 cells to maintain constant collagen production irrespective of the growth status of the cells results from the combined action of a number of regulatory mechanisms, including changes in procollagen mRNA levels, the utilization of procollagen mRNA, and intracellular procollagen degradation.