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Entry by Andrew Capulli, Fall 2011

Definition: Mechanotransduction

Mechanotransduction is the process of converting physical forces into intracellular biochemical responses is referred to as. As research in the field of stem cell biology has progressed, an increasing interest has arisen in evaluating the role of mechanotransduction in stem cell lineage commitment and its potential for exploitation in the development of regenerative therapies [6, 7]. Coordinated interactions with soluble factors, other cells, and extracellular matrices define a local biochemical and mechanical niche that stem cells occupy in vivo [8]. The ECM in this niche influences stem cell behavior both by providing mechanical signals and by physically trapping growth factors, limiting their diffusion, and regulating the temporal dynamics of paracrine signaling within the niche. A better understanding of the mechanisms of mechanical interaction between stem cells and the niche microenvironment will be important for directing the development of synthetic niches for therapeutic stem cell delivery [9].


[1] "The Role of Mechanical Forces in Guiding Tissue Differentiation, Chapter 5" Tissue Engineering in Regenerative Medicine, Sean Sheehy and Kit Parker (Harvard SEAS).

Keyword in References:

Evidence for an upper limit to mitotic spindle length

Multiscale approach to link red blood cell dynamics, shear viscosity, and ATP release

N. Wang, Z. Suo," Long-distance propagation of forces in a cell." Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 328, 1133-1138 (2005). Submitted for publication on 12 January 2005.Accepted for publication on 18 January 2005