Park lab Research

3D printing model for ECM morphogenesis

Extracellular matrix (ECM) is formed outside of producing cells and the mechanism of its morphogenesis remains mysterious. We observed that the surface-tethering and subsequent release of alpha-tectorin/TECTA, a GPI-anchored collagen binding protein, play a critical role in the organization of the tectorial membrane, an apical ECM in the cochlea. We proposed a 3D printing model for the organization of complex ECMs.  However, the model does not explain how distinct matrix shapes are printed from the same cell at different developmental stages and in different locations. How is the specific shape and structure of the matrix organized outside the producing cells? This is a fundamental question in biology since the proper organization of the ECM is critical not only for tectorial membrane morphogenesis but also for tissue morphogenesis in general. We study how the different release modes of the surface organizer regulate matrix patterning.