Cell mechanics and the cytoskeleton

Nature. 2010 Jan 28;463(7280):485-92. doi: 10.1038/nature08908.


The ability of a eukaryotic cell to resist deformation, to transport intracellular cargo and to change shape during movement depends on the cytoskeleton, an interconnected network of filamentous polymers and regulatory proteins. Recent work has demonstrated that both internal and external physical forces can act through the cytoskeleton to affect local mechanical properties and cellular behaviour. Attention is now focused on how cytoskeletal networks generate, transmit and respond to mechanical signals over both short and long timescales. An important insight emerging from this work is that long-lived cytoskeletal structures may act as epigenetic determinants of cell shape, function and fate.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cell Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Cell Shape / physiology
  • Cytoskeleton / chemistry
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Humans