, Volume 67, Issue 17, pp 2879-2895,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Basement membrane components are key players in specialized extracellular matrices

Abstract

More than three decades ago, basement membranes (BMs) were described as membrane-like structures capable of isolating a cell from and connecting a cell to its environment. Since this time, it has been revealed that BMs are specialized extracellular matrices (sECMs) with unique components that support important functions including differentiation, proliferation, migration, and chemotaxis of cells during development. The composition of these sECM is as unique as the tissues to which they are localized, opening the possibility that such matrices can fulfill distinct functions. Changes in BM composition play significant roles in facilitating the development of various diseases. Furthermore, tissues have to provide sECM for their stem cells during development and for their adult life. Here, we briefly review the latest research on these unique sECM and their components with a special emphasis on embryonic and adult stem cells and their niches.