Mechanical signaling through the cytoskeleton regulates cell proliferation by coordinated focal adhesion and Rho GTPase signaling

Paolo P. Provenzano, Patricia J. Keely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

282 Scopus citations

Abstract

The notion that cell shape and spreading can regulate cell proliferation has evolved over several years, but only recently has this been linked to forces from within and upon the cell. This emerging area of mechanical signaling is proving to be wide-spread and important for all cell types. The microenvironment that surrounds cells provides a complex spectrum of different, simultaneously active, biochemical, structural and mechanical stimuli. In this milieu, cells probe the stiffness of their microenvironment by pulling on the extracellular matrix (ECM) and/or adjacent cells. This process is dependent on transcellular cell-ECM or cell-cell adhesions, as well as cell contractility mediated by Rho GTPases, to provide a functional linkage through which forces are transmitted through the cytoskeleton by intracellular force-generating proteins. This Commentary covers recent advances in the underlying mechanisms that control cell proliferation by mechanical signaling, with an emphasis on the role of 3D microenvironments and in vivo extracellular matrices. Moreover, as there is much recent interest in the tumor-stromal interaction, we will pay particular attention to exciting new data describing the role of mechanical signaling in the progression of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1195-1205
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of cell science
Volume124
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2011

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Cell proliferation
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Focal adhesion
  • Mechanotransduction
  • Rho GTPAse

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