Basement Membrane Extract (also referred to as BME, extracellular matrix (ECM), or basement membrane hydrogel) is used globally for culture applications including organoid generation and pluripotent stem cell expansion. While BME is universally utilized as a scaffolding matrix for 2D and 3D cell culture, researchers spend tremendous amounts of effort testing and identifying specific lots of matrix that work for their cells. It can be frustrating and very time consuming.
Cultrex UltiMatrix BME, the newest extracellular matrix hydrogel from Bio-Techne, minimizes these frustrations by improving the consistency and performance of matrix-depended cell culture. we describe four critical elements of BME that can impact product performance - product clarity, tensile strength, protein concentration, and extracellular matrix composition – and how optimizing these elements has made Cultrex UltiMatrix BME the ultimate basement membrane hydrogel.
Basement membrane clarity can be a quick indicator of product quality. High clarity indicates that the BME is composed of a soluble and homogenous mixture of extracellular matrix protein. Low product clarity can indicate premature protein aggregation or the presence of insoluble protein, which can impact product performance and consistency. Cultrex UltiMatrix BME is a high clarity matrix. With manufacturing procedures that optimize soluble protein, Cultrex UlitMatrix BME demonstrates consistent clarity across lots.
Tensile strength refers to the stiffness of the solidified basement membrane matrix. Concentrated matrix has a higher tensile strength than a diluted matrix, which contains a lower protein concentration and fewer opportunities for protein cross-linking. While cultured cells and tissues may have different stiffness requirements, using a matrix with consistent tensile dynamics across lots will improve experimental reproducibility. For example, Cultrex UltiMatrix increases its stiffness as it gels at higher temperatures. The rate of gelling and final tensile strength remains consistent across commercial lots.
Extracellular Matrix Composition
Basement membrane extracts contain a specific ratio of collagens, laminins, entactin, and heparan sulfate proteoglycan. Modifying the proportions of extracellular matrix proteins within BME can impact cell behavior, therefore utilizing a matrix with a consistent protein composition will improve experimental performance and reproducibility. Cultrex UltiMatrix BME was designed just for this. The process for manufacturing Cultrex UltiMatrix BME maximizes protein concentration and maintains lot-to-lot consistency of extracellular matrix protein ratios, including a high concentration of entactin, a key cross-linking protein within in the hydrogel.
BME with a high protein concentration provides researchers with greater application flexibility. It enables adjustment to tensile strength and embedding of cells in 3D without sacrificing matrix stiffness or stability. However, increased concentration can result in a harder-to-handle soluble matrix. Cultrex UltiMatrix BME is a highly concentrated basement membrane extract that remains easy to pipette, dilute, and distribute.
Cultrex UltiMatrix BME provides the choice basement membrane solution for cell culture by ensuring high protein concentration, consistent matrix composition, high clarity, and improved tensile strength. Cultrex UltiMatrix has been extensively tested and shown to support:
Tissue, adult stem cell and iPSC-derived organoid formation.
Pluripotent stem cell expansion
Cell invasion and more.
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