Skip to main content

Colony of induced pluripotent stem cells cultured with Cultrex (Catalog # 3433-005-01) using the thin coat method, expresses undifferentiated stem cell markers, stained red (SOX2), green (E-Cadherin), and blue (DAPI).

Extracellular Matrices and Basement Membrane Extracts

Substrates that mimic the extracellular matrix (ECM) in culture have been shown to be imperative for robust cell growth, optimal health, and as a method to direct the behavior and structural formation of cells in vitro. Basement membrane extract (BME) is a commonly used scaffolding for 2- and 3-D cell culture, including pluripotent stem cell expansion and differentiation as well as spheroid and organoid formation. BMEs contain laminin, fibronectin, collagen IV, vitronectin, entactin, and heparan sulfate proteoglycans. This mixture of ECM proteins within the hydrogel plays an important role in directing cell behavior and health, providing not only a critical growth substrate but also an optimized environment for cell-to-cell interactions to facilitate in vivo-like growth dynamics. While BME is being utilized across a wide breath of applications, the quality and behavior of cells cultured in BME can greatly be impacted by handling, hydrogel concentration, and coating methods.

Choose the Best Cell Matrices for Your Research

Cultrex matrices are carefully formulated to mimic the complex composition and physical properties of the native ECM, providing a more physiologically relevant environment for your cells to grow and function in. By using Cultrex, you can more accurately replicate the in vivo microenvironment and achieve more reliable and meaningful results. Cultrex is rigorously tested for quality and consistency, ensuring that you get the same reliable results every time.

As a leading brand in the development and production of high-quality cell matrices, our extensive range of Cultrex ECM products is designed to meet the specific needs of a diverse range of fields, including cancer biology, stem cell research, and tissue engineering.

See the selection guide below to purchase today or reach out to a specialist to discuss how we can provide a reliable source of ECM for your research or help you find the right matrix.

Cultrex BME Matrix Selection Guide

Note: RGF signifies Reduced Growth Factor
Application Product Without Phenol Red With Phenol Red Matrigel Equivalent
Stem Cell, Organoid, 3-D Culture Cultrex UltiMatrix BME001-05 (RGF) - 356255, 354248, 354262, 354263



General Cell Culture



Cultrex Basement Membrane Extract, Type 1



356234, 354234, 356237, 356232, 356235, 356254

3433-010-01 (RGF) 3433-010-01P (RGF) 356230, 354230, 356231, 356252, 356238, 356253, 356239






Cultrex Basement Membrane Extract, Type 2





3533-010-02 (RGF) 3533-010-02P (RGF)
3536-005-02 (RGF, Select) - -
Difficult to Culture Organoids Cultrex Basement Membrane Extract, Type R1 3433-010-R1 - 356255
Xenograft, Tumorgraft Cultrex Basement Membrane Extract, Type 3 3632-010-02 3632-010-02P -


Stem Cell


Cultrex Stem Cell Qualified Basement Membrane Extract

3434-010-02 (RGF)



354277, 356277, 356278

3434-050-RTU (RGF, ReadyBME) -
3-D Culture Cultrex 3-D Culture Matrix 3445-010-01 (RGF) - -

Cultrex Extracellular Matrix Proteins

Cultrex ECM Proteins provide a defined substrate for cell adhesion in culture. Many proteins of the ECM interact with cells via cell surface integrin family receptors. The resulting focal contacts are important for the maintenance of tissue architecture and for supporting a variety of cellular processes. ECM molecule/integrin binding may initiate a complex network of signal transduction cascades that, depending on the context, play an important role in cell spreading, migration, proliferation, and differentiation during embryogenesis, wound healing, and tumor development. To accommodate a variety of different models, we have developed a full range of ECM component proteins including Laminin I, Collagen I, Collagen IV, Fibronectin, and Vitronectin. These include purified proteins that have been qualified for 3-D or stem cell cultures.

Protein Description
Mouse Laminin I A purified basement membrane protein that has been developed, produced and qualified specifically for cell culture studies where the presence of pathogens may cause concern.
Mouse Collagen IV Used for coating of tissue culture surfaces to promote cell attachment and proliferation and to study its effects on cell behavior.
Rat Collagen I Major structural component of extracellular matrices found in connective tissue and internal organs, used to promote cell attachment, growth, differentiation, migration, and tissue morphogenesis during development. The 5 mg/ml concentration is very viscous for researchers wanting a thicker Collagen.
Rat Collagen I, Lower Viscosity Diluted to a lower concentration (3 mg/ml); it is less viscous and easier to handle. A major structural component of extracellular matrices found in connective tissue and internal organs, but is most prevalent in dermis, tendons, and bone. It promotes cell attachment, proliferation, differentiation, migration, and tissue morphogenesis.
Vitronectin Vitronectin is a large glycoprotein found in blood and the ECM. Vitronectin contains multiple binding sites for a variety of structures.
3-D Culture Extract Laminin I 3-D Culture Matrix Mouse Laminin I may be used as a gel on which to grow cells, as a media additive alone or in concert with other basement membrane components, or to study cellular growth and differentiation in three dimensions in vitro.
3-D Culture Extract Rat Collagen I The 3-D Culture Matrix Collagen I may be used as a gel on which to grow cells or a media additive alone or in concert with other basement membrane components to study cellular growth and differentiation in three dimensions in vitro.

Best Practices for Handling Cell Matrices

Cultrex BME - Best Practices and Protocols
  • Keep all stock solutions at -80 °C for long term storage (≥ 1 month)
    • Note: Cultrex ReadyBME is pre-diluted and should be stored at 2-8 °C, never frozen
  • Thaw frozen Cultrex BME matrix on ice in a 2-8 °C refrigerator overnight. This allows for ample thawing while maintaining the product at a stable cold temperature
  • Aliquot into working amounts. Store aliquots at -80 °C for long term storage
  • Avoid storing Cultrex BME matrices at 2-8 °C for > 1 day
  • Cultrex BME matrices will gel if temperature is ≥ 18 °C, so work quickly and always on ice and with pre-chilled supplies and tools, such as pipette tips
  • Always dilute Cultrex BME matrices with ice-cold cell culture media
Icon representing cold temperature storage

Temperature Sensitivity

Basement membrane hydrogels have unique physical properties. They are in a liquid state at 2-8 °C and solidify when brought to room temperature. While a liquid, Cultrex BME matrices can be easily manipulated and diluted, but any fluctuations or temporary exposure to temperatures above 2-8 °C can potentially impact the health and behavior of the cell culture system.

Icon representing careful handling


When working with Cultrex BME matrices or other ECMs, it is recommended to use chilled pipettes, tubes, and other tools. Additionally, it is crucial to avoid vigorous shaking or vortexing, as this can cause the matrix to solidify prematurely or lead to the formation of air bubbles, which can interfere with cell culture.

QC Product Release Icon


Cultrex BME Matrices should be stored at -20 °C or below, in their original container, and used before the expiration date. Avoid repeated freeze-thaw cycles, as this can damage the physical properties of the matrix and affect its performance.

Select the Optimal Coating Method for Your Cell Culture

Cultrex BME is a soluble form of basement membrane that can be applied to a variety of cell culture conditions. However, it is important to understand the various coating methods that can be employed and the impact they can have on your cell culture. The method of use is dictated by multiple factors, including the type of starting material (single cells or tissue), the adherence requirements of your cell or tissue type, and the need for a 2- or 3-D culture system.

Method Description Application Recommended Matrix
Thin Coat Cells are grown on top of a thin layer of Cultrex BME Primary Cell Propagation
iPSC Expansion
Cell Invasion Assays

Cultrex UltiMatrix RGF BME
Cultrex Stem Cell Qualified RGF BME
Cultrex RGF BME
Cultrex BME

Thick Coat Cells are grown on top of a thick layer of Cultrex BME

Spheroid Culture
Organoid Culture
Endothelial Vessels
Tube Formation
Aortic Rings

Cultrex UltiMatrix RGF BME
Cultrex 3-D RGF BME
Cultrex RGF BME

Sandwich Cells are cultured between two thick layers of Cultrex BME

iPSC Differentiation
MSC Expansion

Cultrex UltiMatrix RGF BME
Stem Cell Qualified Cultrex RGF BME
Cultrex RGF BME

Embedded-Layer Cells are cultured while embedded in Cultrex BME

Spheroid Culture
Organoid Culture
Invasion and Migration Assays

Cultrex UltiMatrix RGF BME
Cultrex RGF BME, Type 2
Cultrex 3-D RGF BME
Cultrex RGF BME, Type R1

Embedded-Dome Cells are cultured while embedded in Cultrex BME and plated into cell culture vessel as domed structures Organoid Culture

Cultrex UltiMatrix RGF BME
Cultrex RGF BME, Type 2
Cultrex RGF BME, Type R1

Quick Protocols

Expand the sections below to see additional details and a brief overview of the recommended steps to achieve a coating with each method. There are also protocols and troubleshooting guides for more specific organoid cultures that may assist your research.

Speak to a Cell Culture Specialist