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