The Basal Lamina
The basal lamina, also referred to as the basement membrane, is a specialized
form of the extra-cellular
matrix that interacts directly with bordering cells and tissues. It is
present in virtually all tissues, and is directly involved in maintaining
tissue-specific specialized function as well as modulating cell and tissue
growth and development. The basal lamina exerts its effect on neighboring
cells and tissues via the binding and organization of cell receptors.
The basal lamina is predominately composed of type IV collagen and laminin
molecules. These molecules are organized into a complex supramolecular
membrane structure. Much of the function of the basal lamina
depends on the correct organization and three-dimensional structure assumed
by the key type IV collagen and laminin molecules. To date, six type IV
collagen chains and twelve laminin molecules have been identified. The
type IV collagen and laminin composition of the basal lamina
varies from tissue to tissue.
The basal lamina has been difficult to study because of
the insoluble nature and structural complexity of its protein components.
BioStratum scientists have been studying
its structure and function for over 25 years. The last ten years have
seen an acceleration of scientific advancements in this field. Many of
the molecular processes involved in chronic and degenerative diseases
have been shown to involve significant pathological changes to the vascular
and tissue basal laminas. BioStratum scientists have elucidated the molecular
basis of many of these pathologies, which has lead to the identification
of novel targets and drug candidates for diabetic complications, cancer
and kidney disease.
A compelling feature of basal lamina-based therapeutics is their application
to large disease markets for which current treatments are either ineffective
or not available.
More on Basal Lamina Research and Drug Discovery