Mechanics and Regulation of Cell Shape During the Cell Cycle

Part of the Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation book series (RESULTS)


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.


Hydrolysis Migration Anisotropy Tyrosine Retina 



We thank B. Baum, J.S. Bois, S.W. Grill, C. Norden, and G. Salbreux for their comments on the manuscript, A. Rudnick for assistance with the illustrations, and The Polish Ministry for Science and Higher Education, the Max Planck Society, and the Human Frontier Science Program for financial support.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and GeneticsDresdenGermany
  2. 2.International Institute of Molecular and Cell BiologyWarsawPoland

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