Collagen plays a major role in providing mechanical support within the extracellular matrix and thus has long been used for various biomedical purposes. Exemplary, it is able to replace damaged tissues without causing adverse reactions in the receiving patient. Today’s collagen grafts mostly are made of decellularized and otherwise processed animal tissue and therefore carry the risk of unwanted side effects and limited mechanical strength, which makes them unsuitable for some applications e.g., within tissue engineering. In order to improve collagen-based biomaterials, recent advances have been made to process soluble collagen through nature-inspired silk-like spinning processes and to overcome the difficulties in providing adequate amounts of source material by manufacturing collagen-like proteins through biotechnological methods and peptide synthesis. Since these methods also open up possibilities to incorporate additional functional domains into the collagen, we discuss one of the best-performing collagen-like type of proteins, which already have additional functional domains in the natural blueprint, the marine mussel byssus collagens, providing inspiration for novel biomaterials based on collagen-silk hybrid proteins.
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