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11 2020 Scientific reports

Red-COLA1: a human fibroblast reporter cell line for type I collagen transcription.


Wong HH, Seet SH, Bascom CC, Isfort RJ, Bard F


Type I collagen is a key protein of most connective tissue and its up-regulation is required for wound healing but is also involved in fibrosis. Control of expression of this collagen remains poorly understood apart from Transforming Growth Factor beta (TGF-β1)-mediated induction. To generate a sensitive, practical, robust, image-based high-throughput-compatible reporter system, we genetically inserted a short-lived fluorescence reporter downstream of the endogenous type I collagen (COL1A1) promoter in skin fibroblasts. Using a variety of controls, we demonstrate that the cell line faithfully reports changes in type I collagen expression with at least threefold enhanced sensitivity compared to endogenous collagen monitoring. We use this assay to test the potency of anti-fibrotic compounds and screen siRNAs for regulators of TGF-β1-induced type I collagen expression. We propose our reporter cell line, Red-COLA1, as a new efficient tool to study type I collagen transcriptional regulation.

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