Natural and engineered tissues are a collection of cells arranged within a structural scaffold of insoluble extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins and soluble signaling molecules that provide biochemical and mechanical cues directing function. This function is therefore dependent on the spatiotemporal resolution of matrix proteins, cells, and signaling molecules, and their interactions with one another. While the ECM is ubiquitous throughout development, its composition, ratio, geometrical arrangement, and mechanical properties are important distinguishing features between tissue types.1,2 Cells interact with the ECM in their microenvironment to direct specialization and tissue-specific behavior. This interaction occurs in a bidirectional, reciprocal manner wherein cells respond to the cues present in their environment by initiating signaling programs of genetic and phenotypic transformation.3 This transformation in turn allows the cell to exert physical and biochemical influence on its microenvironment leading to cell/matrix cooperativity during development, homeostasis, and repair.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)