Some thoughts on the future of cell mechanics
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Cell mechanics research is at a crucial juncture in its decades-old history (for a good historical perspective, see for example Pelling and Horton 2008). One of several reasons that research on the mechanical properties of cells has been actively pursued for many decades is the functional link between cell mechanics and the cell cytoskeleton, a dynamic structure made of different protein filaments and their accessory proteins. This cytoskeleton is involved in such important biological processes as cell migration or cell division and characteristically altered in many diseases such as cancer. Whenever a cell changes its function or becomes pathologically altered, the cytoskeleton restructures, which inevitably leads to tell-tale mechanical changes. In this sense, one can use a mechanical test to feelfor cell functional changes. This premise is attractive, because it permits the unbiased, non-destructive, and sensitive investigation of cell interior processes and potentially even the...
I want to thank M. Kräter, D. Soteriou, and M. Kubankova for the critical reading of the manuscript and B. Baum, C. Cannistraci, D. Di Carlo, E. Chilvers, E. Darling, D. Discher, B. Fabry, J. Goetz, P. Janmey, W. Lam, S. Manalis, D. Robinson, A. Rowat, U. Schwarz, A. Surcel, T. Sulcheck, K. Tanner, and V. Zaburdaev and all members of my group for important recent discussions. I also want to acknowledge the important work by many others in the cell mechanics community whose work I have failed to mention explicitly in this text.
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