Editors' ChoiceBiophysics

Sensing Tension

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Sci. Signal.  28 May 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 277, pp. ec125
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004355

Many cellular processes are regulated by mechanical signals. Single-molecule force spectroscopy has been used to probe molecular unfolding or unbinding; however, measuring the single-molecule forces required to activate signaling remains a challenge. Wang and Ha describe a “tension gauge tether” approach to measure the force applied on a single receptor ligand bond. By using tethers with a range of tension tolerances and monitoring activation, the force required to activate signaling could be measured.

X. Wang, T. Ha, Defining single molecular forces required to activate integrin and Notch signaling. Science 340, 991–994 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]