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Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. Named from the Latin for “glue,” its springy, tough coils are the main component of connective tissue, like ligaments and tendons, as well as of skin.
By replacing a carbon and a hydrogen atom with a nitrogen atom at a key part of the protein, David Chenoweth and his research group wer able to add stabilizing hydrogen bonds.
Engineering collagen to be even tougher could form the basis of a variety of medical treatments, such as improved skin grafts and reconstructive surgery. But despite decades of research into collagen’s chemical composition, scientists have thus far been unable to modify the protein “backbone” to make it more resistant to unraveling.
Get the full story from Evan Lerner here.