Mechanotransduction gone awry

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2009 Jan;10(1):63-73. doi: 10.1038/nrm2597.


Cells sense their physical surroundings through mechanotransduction - that is, by translating mechanical forces and deformations into biochemical signals such as changes in intracellular calcium concentration or by activating diverse signalling pathways. In turn, these signals can adjust cellular and extracellular structure. This mechanosensitive feedback modulates cellular functions as diverse as migration, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis, and is crucial for organ development and homeostasis. Consequently, defects in mechanotransduction - often caused by mutations or misregulation of proteins that disturb cellular or extracellular mechanics - are implicated in the development of various diseases, ranging from muscular dystrophies and cardiomyopathies to cancer progression and metastasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging, Premature / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Cardiomegaly / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / physiology*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / physiopathology
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology