"Control of Corneal Differentiation by Extracellular Materials" (1974), by Stephen Meier and Elizabeth D. Hay
In 1974, Elizabeth Dexter Hay and Stephen Meier in the US conducted an experiment that demonstrated that the extracellular matrix, the mesh-like network of proteins and carbohydrates found outside of cells in the body, interacted with cells and affected their behaviors. In the experiment, Hay and Meier removed the outermost layer of cells that line the front of the eye, called corneal epithelium, from developing chick embryos. Prior to their experiment, scientists observed that corneal epithelium produced collagen, the primary component of the extracellular matrix, which provides structural support to cells throughout the body. In their experiment, Hay and Meier confirmed that the lens capsule, a collagen-containing structure of the eye’s extracellular matrix, induced the corneal epithelium to produce collagen. That result demonstrated that extracellular matrix interactions affect tissue development in developing embryos.