Stretching the boundaries of extracellular matrix research


Extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins constitute >1% of the proteome and interact with many modifiers and growth factors to affect most aspects of cellular behaviour during development and normal physiology, as well as in diseases such as fibroses, cancer and many genetic disorders. In addition to biochemical signals provided to cells by ECM proteins, important cell–ECM interactions involve bidirectional mechanotransduction influences, which are dependent on the physical structure and organization of the ECM. These are beginning to be understood using twenty-first-century approaches, including biophysics, nanotechnology, biological engineering and modern microscopy. Articles in this issue of Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology review progress in our understanding of the ECM.

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Correspondence to Richard O. Hynes.

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Hynes, R. Stretching the boundaries of extracellular matrix research. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 15, 761–763 (2014).

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