Collaboration of fibronectin matrix with other extracellular signals in morphogenesis and differentiation.
Tissue formation and cell differentiation depend on a properly assembled extracellular matrix (ECM). Fibronectin is a key constituent of the pericellular ECM, forming essential connections between cell surface integrin receptors and structural components of the ECM. Recent studies using vertebrate models, conditional gene knockouts, tissue explants, and cell culture systems have identified developmental processes that depend on fibronectin and its receptor α5β1 integrin. We describe requirements for fibronectin matrix in the cardiovascular system, somite and precartilage development, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Information about molecular mechanisms shows the importance of fibronectin and integrins during tissue morphogenesis and cell differentiation, as well as their cooperation with growth factors to mediate changes in cell behaviors.