Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review on Tissue Mechanics, Cell Signaling and Transcriptional Regulation

Apropos of a recent post, here is a review article that summarizes recent work on the control of signaling cascades and transcriptional programs by the mechanical forces; in this way, changes in the mechanical environment of cells and tissues can result in a range of normal and pathological cellular responses.


 2013 Aug 20. pii: S0301-4681(13)00061-3. doi: 10.1016/j.diff.2013.07.004. [Epub ahead of print]

From tissue mechanics to transcription factors.


Departments of Physiology and Institute for Medicine and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Electronic address:


Changes in tissue stiffness are frequently associated with diseases such as cancer, fibrosis, and atherosclerosis. Several recent studies suggest that, in addition to resulting from pathology, mechanical changes may play a role akin to soluble factors in causing the progression of disease, and similar mechanical control might be essential for normal tissue development and homeostasis. Many cell types alter their structure and function in response to exogenous forces or as a function of the mechanical properties of the materials to which they adhere. This review summarizes recent progress in identifying intracellular signaling pathways, and especially transcriptional programs, that are differentially activated when cells adhere to materials with different mechanical properties or when they are subject to tension arising from external forces. Several cytoplasmic or cytoskeletal signaling pathways involving small GTPases, focal adhesion kinase and transforming growth factor beta as well as the transcriptional regulators MRTF-A, NFκB, and Yap/Taz have emerged as important mediators of mechanical signaling.
© 2013 International Society of Differentiation. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Mechanical stress, Mechanosensing, Mechanotransduction, Substrate stiffness

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