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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Apr;7(4):265-75.

Local force and geometry sensing regulate cell functions.

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  • 1Laboratory for Biologically Oriented Materials, Department of Materials, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 10, ETH Hönggerberg, HCI F443, CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland.


The shapes of eukaryotic cells and ultimately the organisms that they form are defined by cycles of mechanosensing, mechanotransduction and mechanoresponse. Local sensing of force or geometry is transduced into biochemical signals that result in cell responses even for complex mechanical parameters such as substrate rigidity and cell-level form. These responses regulate cell growth, differentiation, shape changes and cell death. Recent tissue scaffolds that have been engineered at the micro- and nanoscale level now enable better dissection of the mechanosensing, transduction and response mechanisms.

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