Elastin is a key extracellular matrix protein that is critical to the elasticity and resilience of many vertebrate tissues including large arteries, lung, ligament, tendon, skin, and elastic cartilage. Tropoelastin associates with multiple tropoelastin molecules during the major phase of elastogenesis through coacervation, where this process is directed by the precise patterning of mostly alternating hydrophobic and hydrophilic sequences that dictate intermolecular alignment. Massively crosslinked arrays of tropoelastin (typically in association with microfibrils) contribute to tissue structural integrity and biomechanics through persistent flexibility, allowing for repeated stretch and relaxation cycles that critically depend on hydrated environments. Elastin sequences interact with multiple proteins found in or colocalized with microfibrils, and bind to elastogenic cell surface receptors. Knowledge of the major stages in elastin assembly has facilitated the construction of in vitro models of elastogenesis, leading to the identification of precise molecular regions that are critical to elastin-based protein interactions.
- References to Elastin