Mechanotransduction: All Signals Point to Cytoskeleton, Matrix, and Integrins

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Science's STKE  12 Feb 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 119, pp. pe6
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.119.pe6

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Mechanical stresses modulate cell function by either activating or tuning signal transduction pathways. Mechanotransduction, the process by which cells convert mechanical stimuli into a chemical response, occurs both in cells specialized for sensing mechanical cues and in parenchymal cells whose primary function is not mechanosensory. However, common among the various responses to mechanical stress is the importance of direct or indirect connections between the internal cytoskeleton, the extracellular matrix (ECM), and traditional signal transducing molecules. In many instances, these elements converge at focal adhesions, sites of structural attachment between the cytoskeleton and ECM that are anchored by cell surface integrin receptors. Alenghat and Ingber discuss the accumulating evidence for the central role of cytoskeleton, ECM, and integrin-anchored focal adhesions in several mechanotransduction pathways.

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