Pharmacologically controlled protein switch for on-off regulation of growth factor activity

The precise manipulation of growth factor signaling is central to the progress of tissue engineering. Methods for direct time-resolved activation of signaling pathways through controlled receptor dimerization have been reported; however, these suffer from the risks associated with gene transfer. Here we present an alternative gene transfer-free approach in the form of a protein switch featuring pharmacologically controlled ON-OFF regulation of growth factor activity. The reversible operation of the switch enables stimulation of target processes within a defined period of time. The protein switch provides a means for both studying and manipulating signaling processes, and is thus believed to be a valuable tool for basic research as well as tissue engineering and biomedical applications.