Mechanosensing By The ECM And Its Transmission To The Cytoskeleton

Mechanosensing refers to the ability of cells to translate mechanical forces into biochemical signals that regulate cellular responses. In living tissues, these mechanical stimuli come mostly from the extracellular matrix (ECM), which acts as a potent regulator of cell behavior as well as providing essential structural support.1 Normal tissue homeostasis is a dynamic, bidirectional process in which cells both respond to mechanical cues and adjust the characteristics of the ECM to maintain a healthy state.1,2


The mechanical properties of individual cells are largely determined by their cytoskeletal organization, and dynamic rearrangements of the actin cytoskeleton are therefore an important aspect of environmental adaptation.3 Actin forms semiflexible filaments that can adopt multiple architectures with different mechanical properties, meaning that the actomyosin cytoskeleton can serve as an “active spring” or “shock absorber” in response to the cellular environment.4

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