Recent discoveries have established that mechanical properties of the cellular environment such as its rigidity, geometry, and external stresses play an important role in determining the cellular function and fate. Mechanical properties have been shown to influence cell shape and orientation, regulate cell proliferation and differentiation, and even govern the development and organization of tissues. In recent years, many theoretical and experimental investigations have been carried out to elucidate the mechanisms and consequences of the mechanosensitivity of cells. In this review, we discuss recent theoretical concepts and approaches that explain and predict cell mechanosensitivity. We focus on the interplay of active and passive processes that govern cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions and discuss the role of this interplay in the processes of cell adhesion, regulation of cytoskeleton mechanics and the response of cells to applied mechanical stresses.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
RD gratefully acknowledges the support from University of Southampton during the writing stages of this article. AZ acknowledges support of the Israel Science Foundation. SAS wishes to acknowledge the Israel Science Foundation for its support as well as the historic generosity of the Perlman Family Foundation. The Schmidt Minerva Center and the Clore Center for Biological Physics are also acknowledged.