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Methods. 2008 May;45(1):75-85. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2008.01.003.

Making recombinant extracellular matrix proteins.

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  • 1Institut de Biologie et Chimie des Protéines, UMR CNRS 5086, Université de Lyon, Université Lyon 1, IFR 128 Biosciences Gerland, 7 passage du Vercors, Lyon Cedex 07, France.


A variety of approaches to understand extracellular matrix protein structure and function require production of recombinant proteins. Moreover, the expression of heterologous extracellular matrix proteins, in particular collagens, using the recombinant technology is of major interest to the biomedical industry. Although extracellular matrix proteins are large, modular and often multimeric, most of them have been successfully produced in various expression systems. This review provides important factors, including the design of the construct, the cloning strategies, the expression vectors, the transfection method and the host cell systems, to consider in choosing a reliable and cost-effective way to make recombinant extracellular matrix proteins. Advantages and drawbacks of each system have been appraised. Protocols that may ease efficient recombinant production of extracellular matrix are described. Emphasis is placed on the recombinant collagen production. Members of the collagen superfamily exhibit specific structural features and generally require complex post-translational modifications to retain full biological activity that make more arduous their recombinant production.

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