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Collagen IV Functions

Collagen IV Functions Collagen IV Functions

Collagen is a term commonly used in society and associated with the cosmetic industry, but not many understand its true role in the body. There are twenty-eight types of collagen found in humans and six subtypes of collagen IV. The various collagen subtypes interact and are woven together to form a stronger unit. Collagen IV networks are found in basement membranes, where they typically serve as a foundation or support system for many critical cellular functions.

Cell Adhesion

Collagen IV networks result from the crosslinking of various protein chains which form a flexible superstructure. This three-dimensional network offers numerous cell-binding sites. Collagen IV binds a variety of different cell types in the body, including cells from the blood, liver, skin, hair, pancreas, breast, prostate and brain. Collagen IV also readily binds tumor cells such as breast, prostate and melanoma. Some cells bind through receptors such as integrin and others bind directly to the collagen IV.

Cell Migration

Collagen IV has a significant impact on cellular architecture and movement. Collagen's flexible networks enable the cell to bind critical signaling molecules and propel the cell forward by extending and retracting these basement membrane structures formed by collagen IV. Cells are then able to migrate from one part of the body to another.

Cellular Differentiation

The foundation of a cell's basement membrane consists of collagen IV networks. These networks contain highly specialized binding sites which can alter the fate of new cells. Stem cells become various types of cells, such as hair, skin, liver or other tissue types based on unique components which can bind to the basement membrane and drive the differentiation of the cell. Therefore, collagen IV has been shown to heavily influence the differentiation and architecture of a developing cell.

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