The mechanisms of chain selection and assembly of fibril-associated collagens with interrupted triple helices (FACITs) must differ from that of fibrillar collagens, since they lack the characteristic C-propeptide. We analyzed two carboxyl-terminal noncollagenous domains, NC2 and NC1, of collagen XIX as potential trimerization units and found that NC2 forms a stable trimer and substantially stabilizes a collagen triple helix attached to either end. In contrast, the NC1 domain requires formation of an adjacent collagen triple helix to form interchain disulfide bridges. The NC2 domain of collagen XIX and probably of other FACITs is responsible for chain selection and trimerization
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