Cellular Tensegrity and Mechanochemical Transduction

  • D. E. Ingber


To explain how biological tissues form and function, we must first understand how different types of regulatory signals, both chemical and mechanical, integrate inside the cell. A clue to the mechanism of signal integration comes from recognition that the action of a force on any mass, regardless of scale, will result in a change in three dimensional structure. This is critical because recent studies reveal that many of the molecules that mediate signal transduction and stimulus-response coupling are physically bound to insoluble structural scaffoldings within the cytoskeleton and nucleus (Ingber 1993a). In this type of “solid-state” regulatory system, mechanically-induced structural arrangements could provide a mechanism for regulating cellular biochemistry and hence, efficiently integrating structure and function. However, this is a difficult question to address using conventional molecular biological approaches because this problem is not based on changes in chemical composition or local binding interactions. Rather, it is a question of architecture. As a result of this challenge, a new scientific discipline of “Molecular Cell Engineering” is beginning to emerge which combines elements of molecular cell biology, bioengineering, architecture, and biomechanics.


Apparent Viscosity Tensegrity Structure Focal Adhesion Complex Cytoskeletal Filament Inositol Lipid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1994

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  • D. E. Ingber

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