The cells within our bodies are embedded with extracellular matrix (ECM). Although previously thought to be rather inert and primarily to provide structural support to the cells, it is now clear that the matrix participates and regulates numerous processes including proliferation, differentiation, migration, and adhesion at the cellular level as well as patterning and morphogenesis at the tissue level.
Thus a tight crosstalk between the cells and their surrounding environment takes place in regulating all these processes. In order to get an insight into this crosstalk, we focus on the activities of a family of ECM modifying enzymes belonging to the Lysyl oxidase family. Specifically, we focus on Lysyl oxidase (Lox), the ‘founding member’ of the family and Lox-Like 3 (LoxL3). Towards dissecting their roles, we generated mice which allow us to conditionally manipulate the expression of these enzymes in a Cre-dependent manner. Using these mice, together with cell culture-based analyses allow us to dissect the mechanisms underlying these genes’ activities.