Given its importance in development and homeostasis, bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling is tightly regulated at the extra- and intracellular level. The extracellular matrix (ECM) was initially thought to act as a passive mechanical barrier that sequesters BMPs. However, a new understanding about how the ECM plays an instructive role in regulating BMP signaling is emerging. In this mini-review, we discuss various ways in which the biochemical and physical properties of the ECM regulate BMP signaling.

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