Hyaluronan-Cell Interactions in Limb Development
Hyaluronan is a ubiquitous component of the extracellular matrices in which cells migrate and proliferate during embryonic development (reviewed in Toole, 1981). Its physical and chemical properties contribute to an extracellular milieu which is important both to the structural integrity of embryonic tissues and to the morphogenetic processes that take place within them. One way in which hyaluronan participates in tissue structure arises from its ability to form meshworks that exert osmotic pressure (Comper and Laurent, 1978; Meyer, 1983). The resultant swelling pressure within the tissue can lead to separation of cellular or fibrous structures or deformation of the tissue, possibly facilitating cell and tissue movements (Toole, 1981; Morris-Wiman and Brinkley, 1990). In addition, some embryonic cells exhibit large, hyaluronan-dependent, pericellular coats (Knudson and Toole, 1985) that may influence cell-cell adhesion (Underhill and Toole, 1981; Knudson, 1990a), cell-substratum adhesion (Barnhart et al., 1979), cell proliferation (Brecht et al., 1986), migration (Turley et al., 1985; Schor et al., 1989) or differentiation (Kujawa et al., 1986).
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