Extracellular matrix (ECM) is a non-cellular three-dimensional macromolecular network composed of collagens, proteoglycans/glycosaminoglycans, elastin, fibronectin, laminins, and several other glycoproteins. Matrix components bind each other as well as cell to adhesion receptors forming a complex network into which cells reside in all tissues and organs. Cell surface receptors transduce signals into cells from ECM, which regulate diverse cellular functions, such as survival, growth, migration, and differentiation and are vital for maintaining normal homeostasis. ECM is a highly dynamic structural network that continuously undergoes remodeling mediated by several matrix-degrading enzymes during normal and pathological conditions. Deregulation of ECM composition and structure is associated with the development and progression of several pathologic conditions. This article emphasizes in the complex ECM structure as to provide a better understanding of its dynamic structural and functional multipotency. Where relevant, the implication of the various families of ECM macromolecules in health and disease is also presented.
- Cell- och molekylärbiologi