Date: 21 Apr 2011

Mechanics and Regulation of Cell Shape During the Cell Cycle

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Many cell types undergo dramatic changes in shape throughout the cell cycle. For individual cells, a tight control of cell shape is crucial during cell division, but also in interphase, for example during cell migration. Moreover, cell cycle-related cell shape changes have been shown to be important for tissue morphogenesis in a number of developmental contexts. Cell shape is the physical result of cellular mechanical properties and of the forces exerted on the cell. An understanding of the causes and repercussions of cell shape changes thus requires knowledge of both the molecular regulation of cellular mechanics and how specific changes in cell mechanics in turn effect global shape changes. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the current knowledge on the control of cell morphology, both in terms of general cell mechanics and specifically during the cell cycle.