On the origins of the extracellular matrix in vertebrates

Huxley-Jones, J., Robertson, D. L. and Boot-Handford, R. P. (2007) On the origins of the extracellular matrix in vertebrates. Matrix Biology, 26(1), pp. 2-11. (doi:10.1016/j.matbio.2006.09.008) (PMID:17055232)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Extracellular matrix (ECM) is a key metazoan characteristic. In addition to providing structure and orientation to tissues, it is involved in many cellular processes such as adhesion, migration, proliferation and differentiation. Here we provide a comprehensive analysis of ECM molecules focussing on when vertebrate specific matrices evolved. We identify 60 ECM genes and 20 associated processing enzymes in the genome of the urochordate Ciona intestinalis. A comparison with vertebrate and protostome genomes has permitted the identification of both a core set of metazoan matrix genes and vertebrate-specific innovations in the ECM. We have identified a few potential cases of de novo vertebrate ECM gene innovation, but the majority of ECM genes have resulted from duplication of pre-existing genes present in the ancestral vertebrate. In conclusion, the modern complexity we see in vertebrate ECM has come about largely by duplication and modification of pre-existing matrix molecules. Extracellular matrix genes and their processing enzymes appear to be over-represented in the vertebrate genome suggesting that these genes played an active role enabling and underpinning the evolution of vertebrates.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robertson, Professor David
Authors: Huxley-Jones, J., Robertson, D. L., and Boot-Handford, R. P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Matrix Biology
ISSN (Online):1569-1802
Published Online:19 September 2006

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record