Cell and tissue mechanics in cell migration

Exp Cell Res. 2013 Oct 1;319(16):2418-23. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2013.04.023. Epub 2013 May 9.


Migrating cells generate traction forces to counteract the movement-resisting forces arising from cell-internal stresses and matrix adhesions. In the case of collective migration in a cell colony, or in the case of 3-dimensional migration through connective tissue, movement-resisting forces arise also from external stresses. Although the deformation of a stiffer cell or matrix causes larger movement-resisting forces, at the same time a larger stiffness can also promote cell migration due to a feedback between forces, deformations, and deformation speed that is mediated by the acto-myosin contractile machinery of cells. This mechanical feedback is also important for stiffness sensing, durotaxis, plithotaxis, and collective migration in cell colonies.

Keywords: Acto-myosin interaction; Cell mechanics; Cell migration; Hill-curve; Mechanotransduction; Tissue mechanics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular
  • Muscle Cells / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Myosins / metabolism*
  • Stress, Mechanical


  • Myosins