Cell signaling events: A view from the matrix

Francesco Ramirez, Daniel B. Rifkin

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Cellular activities are primarily initiated, modulated and sustained by multifunctional molecules (cytokines and growth factors) that are secreted into the extracellular space and that signal through membrane-bound, high-affinity receptors. In contrast to the fairly well understood mechanisms that mediate the specificity of signal transduction within the confined and compartmentalized environment of the cell, significantly less is known about the mechanisms that regulate the availability of signaling molecules in the extracellular milieu. Recent findings have implicated the participation of extracellular protein macroaggregates in signaling events controlling patterning and morphogenesis. The results suggest a functional coupling between the tissue-specific organization of collagenous and elastic macroaggregates and their ability to perform instructive as well as structural functions. These observations open the way to a novel understanding in these poorly understood and critically important areas of cell and developmental biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-107
Number of pages7
JournalMatrix Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell signaling events
  • Extracellular matrix


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