DOI: 10.3390/bioengineering11010038 ISSN: 2306-5354

A Thermally Stable Recombinant Human Fibronectin Peptide-Fused Protein (rhFN3C) for Faster Aphthous Ulcer (AU) Healing

Xiang Cai, Jiawen Zhu, Xin Luo, Guoguo Jin, Yadong Huang, Lihua Li
  • Bioengineering

Approximately 59.4–100% of head and neck cancer patients receiving radiotherapy or radio chemotherapy suffer from aphthous ulcers (AUs), which seriously affect the subsequent treatment. At the same time, AUs are a common oral mucosal disease with a high incidence rate among the population, often accompanied by severe pain, and affect both physical and mental health. Strategies to increase the ulcer healing rate and relieve pain symptoms quickly is a long-term clinical objective. Oral mucosal discontinuity is the main histological hallmark of AUs. So, covering the inner mucosal defect with an in vitro engineered oral mucosal equivalent shows good prospects for AU alleviation. Fibronectin (FN) is a glycopeptide in the extracellular matrix and exhibits opsonic properties, aiding the phagocytosis and clearance of foreign pathogens through all stages of ulcer healing. But native FN comes from animal blood, which has potential health risks. rhFN3C was designed with multi-domains of native FN, whose core functions are the recruitment of cells and growth factors to accelerate AU healing. rhFN3C is a peptide-fused recombinant protein. The peptides are derived from the positions of 1444–1545 (FNIII10) and 1632–1901 (FNIII12–14) in human native FN. We optimized the fermentation conditions of rhFN3C in E. coli BL21 to enable high expression levels. rhFN3C is thermally stable and nontoxic for L929, strongly promotes the migration and adhesion of HaCaT, decreases the incidence of wound infection, and shortens the mean healing time by about 2 days compared to others (p < 0.01). rhFN3C may have great potential for use in the treatment of AUs. The specific methods and mechanisms of rhFN3C are yet to be investigated.

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