Collagens provide the building blocks for diverse tissues and organs. Furthermore, these proteins act as signaling molecules that control cell behavior during organ development, growth, and repair. Their long half-life, mechanical strength, ability to assemble into fibrils and networks, biocompatibility, and abundance from readily available discarded animal tissues make collagens an attractive material in biomedicine, drug and food industries, and cosmetic products. About three decades ago, pioneering experiments led to recombinant human collagens' expression, thereby initiating studies on the potential use of these proteins as substitutes for the animal-derived collagens. Since then, scientists have utilized various systems to produce native-like recombinant collagens and their fragments. They also tested these collagens as materials to repair tissues, deliver drugs, and serve as therapeutics. Although many tests demonstrated that recombinant collagens perform as well as their native counterparts, the recombinant collagen technology has not yet been adopted by the biomedical, pharmaceutical, or food industry. This paper highlights recent technologies to produce and utilize recombinant collagens, and it contemplates their prospects and limitations.
Recommended CitationFertala, Andrzej, "Three Decades of Research on Recombinant Collagens: Reinventing the Wheel or Developing New Biomedical Products?" (2020). Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Faculty Papers. Paper 143.
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