Fibrillin microfibrils are widely distributed extracellular matrix assemblies that endow elastic and nonelastic connective tissues with long-range elasticity. They direct tropoelastin deposition during elastic fibrillogenesis and form an outer mantle for mature elastic fibers. Microfibril arrays are also abundant in dynamic tissues that do not express elastin, such as the ciliary zonules of the eye. Mutations in fibrillin-1-the principal structural component of microfibrils-cause Marfan syndrome, a heritable disease with severe aortic, ocular, and skeletal defects. Isolated fibrillin-rich microfibrils have a complex 56 nm "beads-on-a-string" appearance; the molecular basis of their assembly and elastic properties, and their role in higher-order elastic fiber formation, remain incompletely understood.