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The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a highly organized multimolecular structure, essential for life in higher organisms. Although substantial high-resolution structural information is available for relatively small fragments of ECM components, the inherent difficulty in preparing and analyzing samples of large, fibrous polymers impedes structural efforts. Here, we review recent advances in understanding the structure of three important ECM components: collagen, fibrillin and fibronectin. Emphasis is placed on the key role of intermolecular interactions in assembling larger, microm scale, structures.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.ceb.2007.09.005

Type

Journal article

Journal

Curr Opin Cell Biol

Publication Date

10/2007

Volume

19

Pages

578 - 583

Keywords

Animals, Carbohydrate Conformation, Collagen, Extracellular Matrix, Fibrillins, Fibronectins, Microfilament Proteins, Models, Molecular, Molecular Sequence Data, Protein Conformation