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Origins of multicellularity: All in the family

One of the most pivotal steps in evolution-the transition from unicellular to multicellular organisms-may not have required as much retooling as commonly believed, found a globe-spanning collaboration of scientists led by ...

Your fat may help you heal

It frequently happens in science that what you throw away turns out to be most valuable. It happened to Deepak Nagrath, but not for long.

Cell microenvironments hold key to future stem cell therapies

Adult stem cells and their more committed kin, progenitor cells, are prized by medical researchers for their ability to produce different types of specialized cells. The potential of using these cells to repair or replace ...

Genomic secrets of gutless deep-sea tubeworm unlocked

Researchers from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) decoded for the first time the chromosomal-level genome of a deep-sea gutless tubeworm and how the worm's co-living bacterial partners manufacture ...

Basement membrane underpins tissue interactions in the skin

In a discovery that could pave the way for therapies that promote wound healing and alleviate skin diseases, RIKEN researchers have found that the network of molecules under the outermost layer of mouse skin, the skin epithelium, ...

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Extracellular matrix

In biology, the extracellular matrix (ECM) is the extracellular part of animal tissue that usually provides structural support to the animal cells in addition to performing various other important functions. The extracellular matrix is the defining feature of connective tissue in animals.

Extracellular matrix includes the interstitial matrix and the basement membrane. Interstitial matrix is present between various animal cells (i.e., in the intercellular spaces). Gels of polysaccharides and fibrous proteins fill the interstitial space and act as a compression buffer against the stress placed on the ECM. Basement membranes are sheet-like depositions of ECM on which various epithelial cells rest.

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