Reciprocal regulation of cellular mechanics and metabolism

Nat Metab. 2021 Apr;3(4):456-468. doi: 10.1038/s42255-021-00384-w. Epub 2021 Apr 19.


Metabolism and mechanics are intrinsically intertwined. External forces, sensed through the cytoskeleton or distortion of the cell and organelles, induce metabolic changes in the cell. The resulting changes in metabolism, in turn, feed back to regulate every level of cell biology, including the mechanical properties of cells and tissues. Here we examine the links between metabolism and mechanics, highlighting signalling pathways involved in the regulation and response to cellular mechanosensing. We consider how forces and metabolism regulate one another through nanoscale molecular sensors, micrometre-scale cytoskeletal networks, organelles and dynamic biomolecular condensates. Understanding this cross-talk will create diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities for metabolic disorders such as cancer, cardiovascular pathologies and obesity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Biology*
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / physiology*
  • Metabolism / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stress, Mechanical