Author(s): Zajac AL, Discher DE
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Abstract Cells may lack eyes to see and ears to hear, but cells do seem to have a sense of 'touch' that allows them to feel their microenvironment. This is achieved in part through contractility coupled adhesion to physically flexible 'soft' tissue. Here we summarize some of the known variations in elasticity of solid tissue and review some of the long-term effects of cells 'feeling' this elasticity, focusing on differentiation processes of both committed cell types and stem cells. We then highlight what is known of molecular remodeling in cells under stress on short time scales. Key roles for forces generated by ubiquitous and essential myosin-II motors in feedback remodeling are emphasized throughout.
This article was published in Curr Opin Cell Biol
and referenced in Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Devices