Analyses were made of the minor collagens synthesized by cultures of chondrocytes derived from 14-day chick embryo sterna. Comparisons were made between control cultures, cultures grown for 9 days in 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU) and clones of chondrocytes grown to senescence. Separation of minor collagens from interstitial collagens was achieved by differential salt precipitation in the presence of carrier collagens in acid conditions. The precipitate at 0.9 M NaCl 0.5 M acetic acid from control cultures was shown by CNBr peptide analysis to contain only the α1(II) chain of type II collagen, whereas after BrdU treatment or growth to senescence synthesis of only α 1(I) and α2(I) chains occurred. The synthesis of type III collagen was not detected. Analysis of the precipitate at 2.0 M NaCl, 0.5 M HAc from control cultures demonstrated the synthesis of 1α, 2α and 3α chains together with the synthesis of short chain (SC) collagen of Mr 43 000 after pepsin digestion. After BrdU treatment or growth to senescence a chains were isolated which possessed the migration positions on polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE), or the elution positions on CM-cellulose chromatography, of the α1(V) and α2(V) chains of type V collagen. In addition, for BrdU-treated but not for control cultures, intracellular immunofluorescent staining was observed with a monoclonal antibody which specifically recognizes an epitope present in the triple helix of type V collagen. Synthesis of short chain (SC) collagen was not detected after BrdU treatment or growth to senescence. These results suggest that chick chondrocytes grown in conditions known to cause switching of collagen synthesis from type II to type I collagen also undergo a switch from the synthesis of 1α, 2α and 3α chains to the synthesis of the α1(V) and α2(V) chains of type V collagen. It appears that there are several cartilage-specific collagens which together undergo a regulatory control to the synthesis of collagens typical of other connective tissues. © 1984.