, Volume 68, Issue 19, pp 3133-3136

Emerging functions of matricellular proteins

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Cells in multicellular organisms employ a variety of mechanisms to coordinate their individual functions with the needs to the whole. Over the past two decades, the extracellular matrix has become recognized as more than just a structural framework to arrange cells in the proper three-dimensional context to form tissues and organs. Many of the cell surface receptors for specific matrix components are signaling receptors, and their ligation alters signal transduction pathways that control cell shape, survival, movement, and gene expression [1]. Rigidity or elasticity of the matrix provides additional information that controls cell behavior through a process known as mechanotransduction [2]. Matrix proteins also contain binding sites for diffusible growth factors, and specific matrix components can be essential cofactors for presentation of growth factors to their signaling receptors [3]. Such binding sites in the matrix also provide a repository for storing growth factors in the matrix,