The extracellular matrix (ECM) represents a dynamic and instructive microenvironment enabling resident cells to quickly sense and respond to physiological or environmental cues. One mode of ECM-to-cell communication is through the modulation of growth factor signaling. To achieve that, the ECM can provide a reservoir for latent growth factors to allow for rapid growth factor activation in response to external stimuli. The ECM can also modulate the strength or duration of growth factor signals at the level of the growth factor - growth factor receptor interaction. In tissue engineering, tethering active growth factors to engineered ECMs is an important aspect in recreating the physiological microenvironment for stem cells or to home endogenous tissue-resident cell types. Finally, dysregulation of growth factor signaling is often observed in inherited or acquired connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan syndrome or fibrosis. This ASMB eSymposium will explore molecular aspects of the regulation of ECM-mediated signaling pathways and the response elicited on a cellular, tissue, or organismal level. Submission of abstracts from PhD students, postdocs, and junior faculty is highly encouraged.
Guest Chair: Dirk Hubmacher, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai