Send to

Choose Destination
Biotechnol Bioeng. 2010 Aug 15;106(6):860-70. doi: 10.1002/bit.22752.

Production of a non-triple helical collagen alpha chain in transgenic silkworms and its evaluation as a gelatin substitute for cell culture.

Author information

Neosilk Co., Ltd., 3-13-26 Kagamiyama, Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima 739-0046, Japan.


We generated transgenic silkworms that synthesized human type I collagen alpha1 chain [alpha1(I) chain] in the middle silk glands and secreted it into cocoons. The initial content of the recombinant alpha1(I) chain in the cocoons of the transgenic silkworms was 0.8%. The IE1 gene, a trans-activator from the baculovirus, was introduced into the transgenic silkworm to increase the content of the chain. We also generated silkworms homozygous for the transgenes. These manipulations increased the alpha1(I) chain content to 8.0% (4.24 mg per cocoon). The alpha1(I) chain was extracted and purified from the cocoons using a very simple method. The alpha1(I) chain contained no hydroxyprolines due to the absence of prolyl-hydroxylase activity in the silk glands. Circular dichroism analysis showed that the secondary structure of the alpha1(I) chain is similar to that of denatured type I collagen, demonstrating the absence of the triple helical structure. Human skin fibroblasts were seeded on the alpha1(I) chain-coated dishes. The cells attached and spread, although at decreased chain concentrations the spreading rate was lower than that of the collagen and gelatin. Cynomolgus monkey embryonic stem cells cultured on the alpha1(I) chain-coated dishes maintained an undifferentiated state after 30 passages, and their pluripotency was confirmed by teratoma formation in severe combined immunodeficient mice. These results show that the recombinant human alpha1(I) chain is a promising candidate biomaterial as a high-quality and safe gelatin substitute for cell culture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center