In Module 5, you are learning about how cells and tissues are organized. The extracellular matrix or ECM, often referred to as connective tissue, holds cells and tissues together through a complex combination of secreted molecules. The ECM is composed of 3 major components, including proteoglycans, collagens and elastins, and multi-adhesive matrix proteins such as laminin, fibronectin, and fibrillin. Defects in any of these components of the ECM may result in a collagen or connective tissue disease. There are more than 200 different connective tissue and collagen diseases, such as Marfan Syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Osteogenesis imperfecta, and Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome.

Week 10: For this discussion, you will choose a cell biology article from a scientific journal (not from the popular press) about a collagen or connective tissue disease. To search for a disease to study you may first want to use the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man® (OMIM®). Go to: and select clinical synopsis. Try different search terms (connective disease, fibrinogen disorders, collagen disorders, laminin defects, etc.).

Submit an original post that contains the following sections:

  • Article link: Provide a link to the article or attach a complete copy of the article for your classmates.
  • Citation: Give the complete citation for the article including title, author(s), date, publisher, etc.
  • Summary: In your own words, summarize the main points of the article.
  • Molecular Basis for the Disease: What molecule(s) are responsible for the disorder. Has a mutation(s) been identified?
  • Disease: What are the symptoms of the disorder? How does the defect in a certain biomolecule manifest itself at the organismal level?
  • Approach: Do you feel that the researchers used an appropriate experimental approach in their study to address their hypothesis?



Other suggestions for finding scientific articles:

PLoS Biology, a peer-reviewed open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science

PubMed Central® (PMC), a free archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM).

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