Collagen VI at a glance

J Cell Sci. 2015 Oct 1;128(19):3525-31. doi: 10.1242/jcs.169748. Epub 2015 Sep 16.


Collagen VI represents a remarkable extracellular matrix molecule, and in the past few years, studies of this molecule have revealed its involvement in a wide range of tissues and pathological conditions. In addition to its complex multi-step pathway of biosynthesis and assembly that leads to the formation of a characteristic and distinctive network of beaded microfilaments in the extracellular matrix, collagen VI exerts several key roles in different tissues. These range from unique biomechanical roles to cytoprotective functions in different cells, including myofibers, chondrocytes, neurons, fibroblasts and cardiomyocytes. Indeed, collagen VI has been shown to exert a surprisingly broad range of cytoprotective effects, which include counteracting apoptosis and oxidative damage, favoring tumor growth and progression, regulating autophagy and cell differentiation, and even contributing to the maintenance of stemness. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and the accompanying poster, we present the current knowledge of collagen VI, and in particular, discuss its relevance in stemness and in preserving the mechanical properties of tissues, as well as its links with human disorders.

Keywords: Collagen; Extracellular matrix; Skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Collagen Type VI / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*


  • Collagen Type VI