How collagen helps the blood to clot

Collagen-like peptides: synthetic tools to investigate vascular cell function in health and disease (renewal)

Richard Farndale (lead researcher)

Cambridge, University of

Start date: 01 June 2015 (Duration 3 years, 6 months)

Collagen is a structural protein of the blood vessel wall, which is normally concealed beneath the cells that line the blood vessel inner walls. When the blood vessel becomes injured, collagen is exposed and attracts cells called platelets from the blood which causes blood clotting. Collagen also plays a key role in controlling how blood vessel wall cells work.

Professor Richard Farndale and his team at the University of Cambridge study collagen by making small fragments of the larger molecule of collagen. They test which fragments stick to particular proteins in the blood vessel wall. This allows them to identify the crucial parts of collagen – which parts control platelets and which control the blood vessel wall cells.

The BHF has now awarded the Cambridge team a grant to investigate how healthy cells on the blood vessel wall respond to the collagen fragments and if this behaviour changes in disease. The researchers will use specific collagen fragments to transfer small biochemical labels, so that they can identify new proteins on the surface of blood vessel wall cells that bind to collagen. They are particularly interested in how a protein called Von Willebrand Factor, or VWF, binds to collagen. The blood vessel wall also controls clotting, and they will use the same collagen fragments to determine whether collagen helps to control the clotting process.

They will also share their collagen fragments peptides with other heart researchers in laboratories across the world.

This research will help us better understand the roles of collagen in the blood vessel wall and may reveal new ways to prevent unwanted blood clotting.

Project details

Grant amount £721,676
Grant type Programme Grant
Start Date 01 June 2015
Duration 3 years, 6 months
Reference RG/15/4/31268
Status In progress

< back to search results