Mechanical regulation of cell size, fate, and behavior during asymmetric cell division

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2020 Dec:67:9-16. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2020 Aug 5.


Asymmetric cell division (ACD) is an evolutionary conserved mechanism used by prokaryotes and eukaryotes alike to generate cell diversity. ACD can be manifested in biased segregation of macromolecules or differential partitioning of cell organelles. Cells are also constantly subject to extrinsic or intrinsic mechanical forces, influencing cell behavior and fate. During ACD, cell intrinsic forces generated through the spatiotemporal regulation of the actomyosin cytoskeleton can influence sibling cell size. External mechanical stresses are further translated by transcriptional coactivators or mechanically gated ion channels. Here, we will discuss recent literature, exploring how mechanical cues influence various aspects of ACD and stem cell behavior, and how these mechanical cues contribute to cell fate decisions.

Keywords: Asymmetric cell division; Mechanobiology; Sibling cell size asymmetry; Spindle positioning; Stem cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asymmetric Cell Division*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Cell Size*
  • Humans
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular
  • Stem Cells / cytology