Collagen is the most widely used extracellular matrix (ECM) protein for cell culture, facilitating cell attachment, growth, differentiation, migration, and tissue morphogenesis.
Collagen I is used in both 2D and 3D cell culture to make the in vitro cellular environment more in vivo-like. A thin coating of diluted collagen solution supports cell attachment and growth of some primary cells, including hepatocytes. When collagen solution is neutralized, it forms a gel that can support 3D cell cultures.
Figure 1 shows Gibco liquid collagen for cell culture and collagen from two other suppliers. These were prepared at the concentrations stated and allowed to solidify in individual wells of a 24-well plate. Gibco Collagen I forms a firm, clearer gel matrix.
Collagen consists of three α-chains, which form a triple helix, providing tensile strength for the ECM. Collagen I is the most common fibrillar collagen for cell culture and is found in skin, bone, tendons, and other connective tissues.
Collagen I plays key roles in cell biology and biomedical applications:
1. Chandrasekaran, S., et al. “Pro-adhesive and chemotactic activities of thrombospondin-1 for breast carcinoma cells are mediated by alpha3beta1 integrin and regulated by insulin-like growth factor-1 and CD98.” Journal of Biological Chemistry 274, no. 16 (April 1999): 11,408–16.
2. Chen, S.S., et al. “Multilineage differentiation of rhesus monkey embryonic stem cells in three-dimensional culture systems.” Stem Cells 21 (2003): 281–295.
3. Park, D.W., et al. “A well-defined in vitro three-dimensional culture of human endometrium and its applicability to endometrial cancer invasion.” Cancer Letters 195 (2003): 185–192.
4. Whelan, M.C., et al. “Collagen I initiates endothelial cell morphogenesis by inducing actin polymerization through suppression of cyclic AMP and protein kinase A.” Journal of Biological Chemistry 278, no. 1 (January 2003): 327–334.
5. Kokenyesi, R., et al. “Invasion of interstitial matrix by a novel cell line from primary peritoneal carcinosarcoma, and by established ovarian carcinoma cell lines: role of cell-matrix adhesion molecules, proteinases, and E-cadherin expression.” Gynecologic Oncology 89, no. 1 (April 2003): 60–72.
6. Ritty, T.M., Herzog, J. “Tendon cells produce gelatinases in response to type I collagen attachment.” Journal of Orthopaedic Research 21, no. 3 (May 2003): 442–450.