Calcium and Extracellular Matrix
Extracellular matrix is the network of polysaccharides and glycoproteins that occupies the extracellular space of invertebrate and vertebrate tissues. Many matrix proteins bind calcium ions, which serve to stabilize individual domains or the interface between domains, or to mediate interactions between different components of the extracellular matrix. Mutations of calcium-binding residues in matrix proteins cause protein misfolding and human diseases.
The extracellular matrix (ECM) is defined as the aggregate of all secreted molecules that are immobilized in the extracellular space of animal bodies. ECMs can be highly ordered, with distinct morphological features (e.g., aligned fibers) visible in electron micrographs. Other ECMs can have an amorphous appearance, but they nevertheless contain typical ECM proteins (e.g., in the brain). The functions of ECM are manifold, but may be summarized as either mechanical or instructive. In vertebrates, the...
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