Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 72, Issue 11, pp 2091–2106 | Cite as

An updated review of mechanotransduction in skin disorders: transcriptional regulators, ion channels, and microRNAs

  • Jing Wang
  • Yifan Zhang
  • Ning Zhang
  • Chuandong Wang
  • Tanja Herrler
  • Qingfeng Li



The skin is constantly exposed and responds to a wide range of biomechanical cues. The mechanobiology of skin has already been known and applied by clinicians long before the fundamental molecular mechanisms of mechanotransduction are elucidated.

Materials and methods

Despite increasing knowledge on the mediators of biomechanical signaling such as mitogen-associated protein kinases, Rho GTPases or FAK-ERK pathways, the key elements of mechano-responses transcription factors, and mechano-sensors remain unclear. Recently, canonical biochemical components of Hippo and Wnt signaling pathway YAP and β-catenin were found to exhibit undefined mechanical sensitivity. Mechanical forces were identified to be the dominant regulators of YAP/TAZ activity in a multicellular context. Furthermore, different voltage or ligand sensitive ion channels in the cell membrane exhibited their mechanical sensitivity as mechano-sensors. Additionally, a large number of microRNAs have been confirmed to regulate cellular behavior and contribute to various skin disorders under mechanical stimuli. Mechanosensitive (MS) microRNAs could not only be activated by distinct mechanical force pattern, but also responsively target MS sensors such as e-cadherin and cytoskeleton constituent RhoA.


Thus, a comprehensive understanding of this regulatory network of cutaneous mechanotransduction will facilitate the development of novel approaches to wound healing, hypertrophic scar formation, skin regeneration, and the progression or initiation of skin diseases.


TRP Piezo Wound healing Hypertrophic scar Fibrosis Scleroderma 



Yes-associated protein


Activator protein 1


Extracellular matrix




Mitogen-associated protein kinases


Focal adhesion kinase


Extracellular regulated protein kinases




Hair follicles


Interfollicular epidermal


Mesenchymal stem cells


G-Protein-coupled receptors


Calcium-sensing receptor


Transient receptor potential


Endothelial cells




Conflict of interest

The authors state no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing Wang
    • 1
  • Yifan Zhang
    • 1
  • Ning Zhang
    • 2
  • Chuandong Wang
    • 2
  • Tanja Herrler
    • 3
  • Qingfeng Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Shanghai 9th People’s HospitalShanghai Jiao Tong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  2. 2.The Key Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology, Institute of Health Sciences, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (SIBS)Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Hand, Plastic, and Aesthetic Surgery, Department of General, Trauma, Hand, and Plastic SurgeryUniversity of MunichMunichGermany

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