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Designing Recombinant Collagens for Biomedical Applications

[ Vol. 5 , Issue. 2 ]


Andrzej Fertala, Maulik D. Shah, Ryan A. Hoffman and William V. Arnold   Pages 73 - 84 ( 12 )


Collagens are a key element in the architecture of all organs and tissues. These proteins not only build the extracellular scaffolds that define the mechanical properties of tissues, but also play an important role as cell signaling molecules. Certain characteristics of collagens enable them to fulfill specific functions, including their triple-helical structure and their ability to self-assemble into complex extracellular structures. Their unique properties allow collagens to serve as a material to build scaffolds for tissue repair and engineering, as a drug delivery vehicle, and, in the form of gelatin, as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. Animal-derived collagens are widely utilized in the biomedical field today, but their use is associated with a number of limitations and potential side effects. Efforts over the last two decades have advanced technology for the production of recombinant variants of human collagens and collagen-like proteins. Potential applications of these proteins not only eliminate the risks associated with animal-derived collagens, but also offer customized qualities of rationally designed collagen-like proteins. This review highlights the current state of the development of the recombinant collagen technology. Moreover, it discusses key physicochemical and biological parameters that define the collagenous nature of novel recombinant collagen variants.


Collagen, connective tissue, gelatin, recombinant collagen, tissue engineering, tissue regeneration.


Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Curtis Building, Room 501, 1015 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.

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