Abstract

Elastic fibers confer elasticity and recoiling to tissues and organs and play an essential role in induction of biochemical responses in a cell against mechanical forces derived from the microenvironment. The core component of elastic fibers is elastin (ELN), which is secreted as the monomer tropoelastin from elastogenic cells, and undergoes self-aggregation, cross-linking and deposition on to microfibrils, and assemble into insoluble ELN polymers. For elastic fibers to form, a microfibril scaffold (primarily formed by fibrillin-1 (FBN1)) is required. Numerous elastic fiber-associated proteins are involved in each step of elastogenesis and they instruct and/or facilitate the elastogenesis processes. In this review, we designated five proteins as key molecules in elastic fiber formation, including ELN, FBN1, fibulin-4 (FBLN4), fibulin-5 (FBLN5), and latent TGFβ-binding protein-4 (LTBP4). ELN and FBN1 serve as building blocks for elastic fibers. FBLN5, FBLN4 and LTBP4 have been demonstrated to play crucial roles in elastogenesis through knockout studies in mice. Using these molecules as a platform and expanding the elastic fiber network through the generation of an interactome map, we provide a concise review of elastogenesis with a recent update as well as discuss various biological functions of elastic fiber-associated proteins beyond elastogenesis in vivo.

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