Recombinant Extracellular Matrix Protein fragments Support Human Embryonic Stem Cell Chondrogenesis

Aixin Cheng, Stuart Cain, Pinyuan Tian, Andrew K. Baldwin, Paweena Uppanan, Catherine Kielty, Susan Kimber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We previously developed a 14-day culture protocol under potentially GMP,
chemically defined conditions, to generate chondro-progenitors from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). In vivo work has confirmed the cartilage repair capacity of these cells in a nude rat osteochondral defect model. Aiming to enhance hESC-chondrogenesis we screened a range of extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules for their ability to support differentiation of hESCs towards chondrocytes. We identified two novel ECM protein fragments that supported hESC-chondrogenesis: Fibronectin III (fibronectin 7-14 protein fragments including the RGD domain, syndecan binding domain and heparin binding domain); fibrillin-1 (FBN1) fragment PF8 (encoded by exons 30–38, residues 1238–1605, which contains the RGD motif but not heparin binding site). These two protein fragments support hESC-chondrogenesis compared with the substrates routinely used previously (a mixture of fibronectin and gelatin) in our
directed chondrogenic protocol. We have identified recombinant fibronectin
fragment (FN III) and FBNI fragment (PF8) as alternative coating substrates to promote expression of genes known to regulate chondrocytes and code for chondrocyte extracellular matrix components. These recombinant protein fragments are likely to have better batch to batch stability than full length molecules especially where extracted from tissue/serum.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTissue Engineering
Issue number11-12
Early online date27 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


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