alexa Extracellular matrix stiffness and composition jointly regulate the induction of malignant phenotypes in mammary epithelium

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Extracellular matrix stiffness and composition jointly regulate the induction of malignant phenotypes in mammary epithelium

In vitro models of normal mammary epithelium have correlated increased extracellular matrix (ECM) stiffness with malignant phenotypes. However, the role of increased stiffness in this transformation remains unclear because of difficulties in controlling ECM stiffness, composition and architecture independently. Here we demonstrate that interpenetrating networks of reconstituted basement membrane matrix and alginate can be used to modulate ECM stiffness independently of composition and architecture. We find that, in normal mammary epithelial cells, increasing ECM stiffness alone induces malignant phenotypes but that the effect is completely abrogated when accompanied by an increase in basement-membrane ligands.

 
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