Rigidity transitions in development and disease

Trends Cell Biol. 2022 May;32(5):433-444. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2021.12.006. Epub 2022 Jan 17.


Although rigidity and jamming transitions have been widely studied in physics and material science, their importance in a number of biological processes, including embryo development, tissue homeostasis, wound healing, and disease progression, has only begun to be recognized in the past few years. The hypothesis that biological systems can undergo rigidity/jamming transitions is attractive, as it would allow these systems to change their material properties rapidly and strongly. However, whether such transitions indeed occur in biological systems, how they are being regulated, and what their physiological relevance might be, is still being debated. Here, we review theoretical and experimental advances from the past few years, focussing on the regulation and role of potential tissue rigidity transitions in different biological processes.

Keywords: criticality; morphogenesis; multiscale modelling; rigidity transition; tissue mechanics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Embryonic Development*
  • Humans
  • Physics*
  • Wound Healing