The extracellular matrix is a meshwork of molecules that reside in the microenvironment between cells. Extracellular matrix, while historically known as an inert scaffold, is critical in regulating cell communication, shape, migration, and adhesion. Using C. elegans, we characterized regulation of extracellular matrix. First, we showed how activity of a cell-cell communication pathway is regulated and how pathway signaling affects composition and organization of an extracellular matrix. Next, we characterized an extracellular matrix component that is critical for cell adhesion and described how loss of this protein affects a spectrum of phenotypes, including cell shape, sensory perception, and extracellular matrix function.
- Bondos, Sarah Associate Professor