17 March 2010
Vol 2, Issue 23

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER More than skin deep. The extracellular matrix pictured here depicts a dynamic system that participates in the day-to-day workings of many tissues. As a result, defects in matrix proteins generate a constellation of connective tissue conditions that range from very rare genetic disorders to frequently occurring autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. As reported in this week's Research Article by Loeys et al. and discussed in the accompanying Perspective by Avvedimento and Gabrielli, mutations in the fibrillin-1 gene that cause a rare congenital form of skin fibrosis (hardening of the skin) called stiff skin syndrome shed mechanistic light on a more common form of fibrosis, the autoimmune disease, systemic sclerosis. [CREDIT: C. BICKEL/SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE]