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Curr Top Membr. 2015;76:61-116. doi: 10.1016/bs.ctm.2015.09.002. Epub 2015 Oct 20.

Type IV Collagens and Basement Membrane Diseases: Cell Biology and Pathogenic Mechanisms.

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Departments of Ophthalmology and Anatomy, Institute for Human Genetics, UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Basement membranes are highly specialized extracellular matrices. Once considered inert scaffolds, basement membranes are now viewed as dynamic and versatile environments that modulate cellular behaviors to regulate tissue development, function, and repair. Increasing evidence suggests that, in addition to providing structural support to neighboring cells, basement membranes serve as reservoirs of growth factors that direct and fine-tune cellular functions. Type IV collagens are a major component of all basement membranes. They evolved along with the earliest multicellular organisms and have been integrated into diverse fundamental biological processes as time and evolution shaped the animal kingdom. The roles of basement membranes in humans are as complex and diverse as their distributions and molecular composition. As a result, basement membrane defects result in multisystem disorders with ambiguous and overlapping boundaries that likely reflect the simultaneous interplay and integration of multiple cellular pathways and processes. Consequently, there will be no single treatment for basement membrane disorders, and therapies are likely to be as varied as the phenotypes. Understanding tissue-specific pathology and the underlying molecular mechanism is the present challenge; personalized medicine will rely upon understanding how a given mutation impacts diverse cellular functions.


Basement membrane; COL4A1; COL4A2; Collagen; Myopathy; Ocular dysgenesis; Small vessel disease; Stroke

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