Structure and Function of the Extracellular Matrix

Structure and Function of the Extracellular Matrix

A Multiscale Quantitative Approach

1st Edition - November 27, 2021

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  • Author: Bela Suki
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128197165
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128226056

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Structure and Function of the Extracellular Matrix: A Multiscale Quantitative Approach introduces biomechanics and biophysics with applications to understand the biological function of the extracellular matrix in health and disease. A general multiscale approach is followed by investigating behavior from the scale of single molecules, through fibrils and fibers, to tissues of various organ systems. Through mathematical models and structural information, quantitative description of the extracellular matrix function is derived with tissue specific details. The book introduces the properties and organization of extracellular matrix components and quantitative models of the matrix, and guides the reader through predicting functional properties.  This book integrates evolutionary biology with multiscale structure to quantitatively understand the function of the extracellular matrix. This approach allows a fresh look into normal functioning as well as the pathological alterations of the extracellular matrix. Professor Suki’s book is written to be useful to undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers interested in the quantitative aspects of the extracellular matrix. Researchers working in mechanotransduction, respiratory and cardiovascular mechanics, and multiscale biomechanics of tendon, cartilage, skin, and bone may also be interested in this book.

Key Features

  • Examines the evolutionary origins and consequences of the extracellular matrix
  • Delivers the first book to quantitatively treat the extracellular matrix as a multiscale system
  • Presents problems and a set of computational laboratory projects in various chapters to aid teaching and learning
  • Provides an introduction to the properties and organization of the extracellular matrix components


Upper level undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and researchers working in the general area of mechanotransduction, respiratory and cardiovascular mechanics, and multiscale biomechanics of tendon, cartilage, skin and bone

Table of Contents

  • Preface ix

    Definition of symbols xi

    1. Introduction to structure-function relationships

    What is structure? 1

    What is function? 1

    What are structure-function relations? 2

    The multiscale nature of structure-function relations 3

    Evolutionary aspects 4

    Implications for science and medicine 5

    References 6

    2. Extracellular matrix background material: Building blocks, general structure, mechanics, relation to cells, and evolutionary aspects

    The building blocks and the structure of proteins 9

    General properties and organization of the ECM 11

    Mechanical forces, stresses, and stiffness 14

    Relation of the ECM to cells 19

    ECM and evolution 21

    References 25

    3. The collagen molecule

    Collagen classification 29

    A brief evolutionary history of the collagen family 31

    Structure of the collagen molecule 33

    Biosynthesis 35

    Collagen functions 36

    Collagen binding properties 38

    Collagen elasticity 39

    Polymer-based modeling: The mechanical properties of the molecule 44

    Structural models of the collagen molecule 45

    Effects of mutations on molecular structure and function 49

    References 52

    4. Collagen supramolecular structures: Evolution, organization, and biogenesis

    Evolution of the fibril and the diversification of the collagen family 56

    Multiscale nature of fibril structure 59

    Network structure of type IV collagen 62

    Fibril formation 64

    Modeling fibril growth 67

    References 73

    5. Collagen suprastructures: The data and the models Structure and function of type IV collagen networks 78

    Quantitative analysis of structure-function relations in the glomerular basement membrane of the kidney 80

    Structure-function of elastic networks from the point of view of percolation: Implications for tissue engineering 85

    Microscopic structure-function relations of the collagen fibril 88

    Multiscale mechanical properties of the collagen fibril: The data 91

    Modeling fibril function: From simple to complex 96

    Is fibril viscoelasticity a signature of hidden complexity? 100

    References 108

    6. Selected examples of tissue-level collagen suprastructures: Tendon, bone, and skin

    Basic structure and function of the tendon 113

    Modeling the recruitment of wavy fibrils during tendon stretching 114

    Modeling tendon rupture 119

    A brief introduction to the evolutionarily shaped structure and function of the bone 120

    Examples of multiscale structure-function relation in bones 123

    The evolution and basic function of the skin 128

    Multiscale mechanics and tear resistance of the skin 130

    A note on the biological significance of recruitment 136

    References 139

    7. Small leucine-rich proteoglycans: The tiny controllers of the extracellular matrix

    Basic structure and evolution of SLRPs 143

    Biological functions of SLRPs 146

    The PG interaction network 149

    Physiological functions of SLRPs 151

    Influence of GAGs on lung parenchymal mechanics 155

    Summary 159

    References 159

    8. Hyaluronan and hyalectans: The good, the bad, and the ugly

    Evolutionary history 166

    The structure of the HA-hyalectan aggregate 167

    Binding and molecular to cellular functions 171

    Microscale physiological functions 173

    Structure and function of the endothelial glycocalyx 176

    Physiological functions 179

    The bad and the ugly 184

    Summary 187

    References 188

    9. Elastic fibers: The near ideal linear springs of the extracellular matrix

    Evolution of elastin 194

    The tropoelastin gene structure 196

    Structure, disorder, and aggregation 197

    Mechanical properties of tropoelastin 201

    Microfibrils 204

    Elastogenesis: How to build a network of elastic fibers 206

    Elastic fibers: Are they ideal linear springs? 208

    A brief summary on organ-level function and its breakdown 217

    Final notes on the near ideal spring 219

    References 223

    10. Modeling maintenance and repair: The matrix loaded

    Evolution of homeostasis and repair 230

    A continuum approach to ECM growth and remodeling 235

    Dynamics of homeostasis and structural remodeling 237

    Fluctuation-driven homeostasis 240

    A toy model of self-healing 243

    Agent-based modeling: The network paradigm 245

    The uninvited aging: Maintenance and repair slipping out of control 249

    What have we learned? 250

    References 251

    11. Outlook

    Index 259

Product details

  • No. of pages: 282
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2021
  • Published: November 27, 2021
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128197165
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128226056

About the Author

Bela Suki

He earned an MS in physics (1982) and PhD in biomechanics and respiratory physiology (1987). He is now a professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. Over the last 3 decades, he has worked in various areas of the life sciences including respiratory and vascular physiology and biomechanics, cell and tissue mechanics, computational fluid and solid mechanics applied to various physiological problems and complexity in physiology and biology. He has published over 230 papers, reviews and book chapters. He developed 3 relevant courses: 1) Structure and function of the extracellular matrix (BE 549); 2) Respiratory and cardiovascular engineering (BE 508); and 3) Nonlinear systems in biomedical engineering (BE 567).

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, USA

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