alexa Cell Walls and the Extracellular Matrix

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Cell Walls and the Extracellular Matrix

Although cell boundaries are defined by the plasma membrane, many cells are surrounded by an insoluble array of secreted macromolecules. Cells of bacteria, fungi, algae, and higher plants are surrounded by rigid cell walls, which are an integral part of the cell. Although not encased in cell walls, animal cells in tissues are closely associated with an extracellular matrix composed of proteins and polysaccharides. The extracellular matrix not only provides structural support to cells and tissues, but also plays important roles in regulating the behavior of cells in multicellular organisms.

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