Volume 15 Issue 12, December 2014

Volume 15 Issue 12

'Extracellular Matrix' by Vicky Summersby, inspired by this Focus issue.


Research Highlights


  • Review Article |

    The molecules that are associated with the extracellular matrix (ECM) in different tissues, including collagens, proteoglycans, laminins and fibronectin, and the manner in which they are assembled, determine the structure and the organization of the ECM. The resultant biochemical and biophysical properties of the ECM dictate its tissue-specific functions.

    • Janna K. Mouw
    • , Guanqing Ou
    •  & Valerie M. Weaver
  • Review Article |

    The extracellular matrix (ECM) regulates many cellular functions, and its remodelling by enzymes such as metalloproteinases has a crucial role during development, as exemplified by intestinal, lung, mammary gland and submandibular gland morphogenesis. ECM structure and composition are important therapeutic targets, as their dysregulation contributes to conditions such as fibrosis and invasive cancer.

    • Caroline Bonnans
    • , Jonathan Chou
    •  & Zena Werb
  • Review Article |

    In soft connective tissues at the steady state, cells continually read environmental cues and respond to promote mechanical homeostasis of the extracellular matrix and ensure cellular and tissue health. Progress has been made into our understanding of the molecular, cellular and tissue scale responses to mechanical load that promote mechanical homeostasis.

    • Jay D. Humphrey
    • , Eric R. Dufresne
    •  & Martin A. Schwartz
  • Review Article |

    The physical properties of the extracellular environment — in terms of confinement, rigidity, surface topology and adhesion-ligand density — can have profound effects on the migration strategy and migration velocity of cells in different in vivo contexts.

    • Guillaume Charras
    •  & Erik Sahai



  • Timeline |

    The form of vertebrates is shaped by the sensing and relaying of mechanical forces that are applied between cells and their microenvironment. Mechanobiology has emerged as a field of research dedicated to studying these forces and their communication through signalling processes, which are collectively known as mechanotransduction.

    • Thomas Iskratsch
    • , Haguy Wolfenson
    •  & Michael P. Sheetz