Adhesion-mediated mechanosensitivity: a time to experiment, and a time to theorize

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2006 Oct;18(5):472-81. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2006 Aug 22.


Adhesion-mediated signaling provides cells with information about multiple parameters of their microenvironment, including mechanical characteristics. Often, such signaling is based on a unique feature of adhesion structures: their ability to grow and strengthen when force is applied to them, either from within the cell or from the outside. Such adhesion reinforcement is characteristic of integrin-mediated cell-matrix adhesions, but may also operate in other types of adhesion structures. Though the amount of knowledge about adhesion-mediated signaling is growing rapidly, the mechanisms underlying force-dependent regulation of junction assembly are largely unknown. Experiments have been carried out that have started to uncover the major signaling pathways involved in the response of adhesion sites to force. Theoretical models have also been used to address the physical mechanisms underlying adhesion-mediated mechanosensing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology*
  • Cell-Matrix Junctions / metabolism*
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Thermodynamics