Author(s): Daley WP, Peters SB, Larsen M
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Abstract The extracellular matrix (ECM) regulates cell behavior by influencing cell proliferation, survival, shape, migration and differentiation. Far from being a static structure, the ECM is constantly undergoing remodeling--i.e. assembly and degradation--particularly during the normal processes of development, differentiation and wound repair. When misregulated, this can contribute to disease. ECM assembly is regulated by the 3D environment and the cellular tension that is transmitted through integrins. Degradation is controlled by complex proteolytic cascades, and misregulation of these results in ECM damage that is a common component of many diseases. Tissue engineering strives to replace damaged tissues with stem cells seeded on synthetic structures designed to mimic the ECM and thus restore the normal control of cell function. Stem cell self-renewal and differentiation is influenced by the 3D environment within the stem cell niche. For tissue-engineering strategies to be successful, the intimate dynamic relationship between cells and the ECM must be understood to ensure appropriate cell behavior.
This article was published in J Cell Sci
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy