Living cells are extremely sophisticated devices that detect specific environmental signals, process this information, and generate specific mechanical responses, such as growth, shape change, or directed movement. The active part of the biodevice is the cell cytoskeleton, a spatially extended network (gel), self-organized, mechanochemical machine that forms via the nucleation and multiscale self-organization of biomolecules (e.g., biopolymers such as filamentous actin [F-actin], microtubules [MTs], accessory proteins, and molecular motors [1,2]), in both the temporal and spatial domains. The cytoskeleton determines the mechanical properties of a cell and plays important roles in many cellular processes, such as division [3-5], motility , adhesion , and tissue morphogenesis. The multiscale nature of the cytoskeleton enables response times ranging from fast dynamics for individual molecular-sized building blocks to the persistent motion or shape change of whole cells over minutes and hours, well beyond the time range of man-made analogues.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)