The Force in Biology
by Jerry Lee
Understanding forces in the context of biology is essential as all cells in the human body are constantly subjected to mechanical forces and are ... Show synopsis Understanding forces in the context of biology is essential as all cells in the human body are constantly subjected to mechanical forces and are often presented with situations where adaptations are critical for survival. Mechanical adaptations in response to forces have been studied mainly though visualization of changes in cytoskeletal structures and understanding the corresponding signaling pathways. These observations are informative in elucidating regulating proteins and cellular phenotype, but do not offer insights to the effects, or cell mechanics, of these cellular changes and regulations. A few important questions remain: 1) what are the corresponding mechanical changes, 2) how do these mechanical changes help the cell adapt, 3) is it possible these adaptations result in unforeseen consequences, and 4) if so, do they result in disease? Due to technical limitations, only a portion of the answers have been explored to date. In an attempt to answer these questions, we present studies that use novel insights to quantify changes in cell and nuclear mechanics and reveal the potential impact forces play in cancer and aging.