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Collagen I foams are used in the clinic as scaffolds to promote articular cartilage repair as they provide a bioactive environment for cells with chondrogenic potential. However, collagen I as a base material does not allow for precise control over bioactivity. Alternatively, recombinant bacterial collagens can be used as "blank slate" collagen molecules to offer a versatile platform for incorporation of selected bioactive sequences and fabrication into 3D scaffolds. Here, we show the potential of Streptococcal collagen-like 2 (Scl2) protein foams modified with peptides designed to specifically and noncovalently bind hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate to improve chondrogenesis of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) compared to collagen I foams. Specific compositions of functionalized Scl2 foams lead to improved chondrogenesis compared to both nonfunctionalized Scl2 and collagen I foams, as indicated by gene expression, extracellular matrix accumulation, and compression moduli. hMSCs cultured in functionalized Scl2 foams exhibit decreased collagens I and X gene and protein expression, suggesting an advantage over collagen I foams in promoting a chondrocytic phenotype. These highly modular foams can be further modified to improve specific aspects chondrogenesis. As such, these scaffolds also have the potential to be tailored for other regenerative medicine applications.

Original publication




Journal article


Adv Healthc Mater

Publication Date





1656 - 1666


bioactivity, biomimetic materials, cartilage tissue engineering, collagen foams, mesenchymal stem cells, Bacterial Proteins, Chondrocytes, Chondrogenesis, Collagen, Extracellular Matrix, Humans, Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Regenerative Medicine, Tissue Scaffolds