Proposed Signaling Mechanism (image) Harvard University Caption The Harvard researchers proposed a mechanism to explain how the stiffness and composition of the extracellular matrix could activate signaling pathways that produce a malignant phenotype. In normal conditions (left column), membrane components can fluctuate, overlap, and cluster, forming hemidesmosomes. In a stiffer matrix, they are unable to do so (center). The problem can be corrected in vitro by increasing the concentration of laminin (right). Credit Image courtesy of Ovijit Chaudhuri, Harvard University. Usage Restrictions Editorial use only. Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.