Annu Rev Biophys 2021 Mar 12. Epub 2021 Mar 12.
Department of Quantitative Cell Biology, Institute of Molecular Cell Biology, University of Münster, Münster D-48149, Germany; email:
The ability of cells to generate mechanical forces, but also to sense, adapt to, and respond to mechanical signals, is crucial for many developmental, postnatal homeostatic, and pathophysiological processes. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying cellular mechanotransduction have remained elusive for many decades, as techniques to visualize and quantify molecular forces across individual proteins in cells were missing. The development of genetically encoded molecular tension sensors now allows the quantification of piconewton-scale forces that act upon distinct molecules in living cells and even whole organisms. Read More