Extracellular matrix dynamics in tubulogenesis

Rajprasad Loganathan, Charles D. Little, Brenda J. Rongish

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Biological tubes form in a variety of shapes and sizes. Tubular topology of cells and tissues is a widely recognizable histological feature of multicellular life. Fluid secretion, storage, transport, absorption, exchange, and elimination—processes central to metazoans—hinge on the exquisite tubular architectures of cells, tissues, and organs. In general, the apparent structural and functional complexity of tubular tissues and organs parallels the architectural and biophysical properties of their constitution, i.e., cells and the extracellular matrix (ECM). Together, cellular and ECM dynamics determine the developmental trajectory, topological characteristics, and functional efficacy of biological tubes. In this review of tubulogenesis, we highlight the multifarious roles of ECM dynamics—the less recognized and poorly understood morphogenetic counterpart of cellular dynamics. The ECM is a dynamic, tripartite composite spanning the luminal, abluminal, and interstitial space within the tubulogenic realm. The critical role of ECM dynamics in the determination of shape, size, and function of tubes is evinced by developmental studies across multiple levels—from morphological through molecular—in model tubular organs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109619
JournalCellular Signalling
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Branching morphogenesis
  • Development
  • Embryo
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Lumen
  • Tubulogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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