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Commun Integr Biol. 2011 Mar;4(2):230-5. doi: 10.4161/cib.4.2.14548.

Systems biomechanics of centrosome positioning: A conserved complexity.

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Department of Computational and Systems Biology; University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Pittsburgh, PA USA.


Positioning of centrosomes within cells determines the directionality of cell division, as well as directionality of cellular activities in the interphase. This brief review focuses on similarities (and differences) of centrosome positioning during early divisions in the Caenorhabditis embryo and during the interaction of T lymphocytes with other cells in the course of immune response. In the study of the two phenomena, a synergy of experimentation and numerical mechanical analysis has recently been achieved. The picture that emerges from these studies is one in which simple physical forces under the constraints of the basic cell structure lead to complex, "life-like" mechanical behavior. This behavior includes instability of equilibria, irreversibility of structural transitions and multidimensional, multiperiodic oscillations. This new picture of cell mechanics may form an interesting paradigm for future research.


Caenorhabditis elegans; T cell; antigen-presenting cell; lymphocyte; microtubule-organizing center; modeling; polarity; polarization; spindle

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