Florence Ruggiero

Collagens from the sea

Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon, ENS de Lyon, UMR CNRS 5242, University of Lyon, 46 Allée d’Italie, 69364 Lyon cedex 07, France

Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in multicellular organisms. Collagen is a Greek word that literally means “a protein that generates glue”. However, collagen is no longer considered just as glue that holds the body together. First, most of the time, “collagen” should be replaced by “collagens” as they now form a super family of structural proteins that can comprise up to 28 members in vertebrates. Second, collagens have been implicated in a in an enormous range of biological functions in development, hemostasis, wound healing and tissue remodeling. Yet, the most known collagen remains the type I collagen. Collagen I is the major component of bones, tendons, fascia and skin. In skin, its deregulation during aging and environmental exposure leads to important defects in tissue integrity and function. Due to its bioactivity, biodegradability, biocompatibility, its poor immunogenicity and its unique capacity to be engineered into many different shapes (sponges, film and membranes and injectable hydrogels), collagen I has been widely used in pharmaceutics, cosmetics, tissue engineering and skin substitutes, wound dressings and also as gelatin (denatured collagen) in food. For several decades now, collagen I is extracted from land animal tissues that, as we know, still poses potential residual risks of transmitting infectious agents. Collagen extracted from marine animals such as jellyfish and fish waste have received over the two last decades considerable attention from biomedical researchers and innovation scholars for they represent an alternative and sustainable source of “safe” collagens with potential specific and novel mechanical and biological properties and a cost-effective large-scale production of natural collagens. These recent developments and findings on collagens from the sea will be discussed in the light of current literature.