Crick here reviewed his work with Alexander Rich on collagen during the 1950s. Collagens make up a family of proteins that
share a triple-helical shape (three strands of a polypeptide chain wound around one another, corkscrew-like) and that are
a major structural component of connective tissue, giving it strength and flexibility.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (71,581 Bytes)
1970-01-02 (January 2, 1970)
Original Repository: Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers
I was glad to receive the reprints you sent me. In recent years I have rather lost touch with the subject of collagen, so
I was especially pleased to see that your work leads to a model which is fairly close to the old collagen II model. We realized
in 1961 that not much further progress could be made on the structure of collagen unless repeating synthetic polypeptides
were studied. Personally, I never believed Ramachandran's model with the two hydrogen bonds. Apart from anything else,
it seemed to me to be stereochemically unlikely. Both Alex Rich and I decided, however, that we did not wish to get involved
further with the problem, mainly because of the competing interest of protein synthesis and the genetic code, although we
did feel a little guilty about not following up our earlier work. You will realize, therefore, that I am especially delighted
that you should have done such an excellent job and particularly as the result has come out, in the way we hoped.