Knowledge of the extracellular matrix (ECM) is essential to understand cellular differentiation, tissue development, and tissue remodeling.
This volume of the series “Biology of Extracellular Matrix” provides a timely overview of the structure, regulation, and function of the major macromolecules that make up the extracellular matrix. It covers topics such as collagen types and assembly of collagen-containing suprastructures, basement membrane, fibronectin and other cell-adhesive glycoproteins, proteoglycans, microfibrils, elastin, fibulins and matricellular proteins, such as thrombospondin. It also explores the concept that ECM components together with their cell surface receptors can be viewed as intricate nano-devices that allow cells to physically organize their 3-D-environment. Further, the role of the ECM in human disease and pathogenesis is discussed as well as the use of model organisms in elucidating ECM function.