Forces at adhesive contacts

Thuc Nghi Nguyen, Soichiro Yamada

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The regulation of cell-extracellular matrix and cell-cell adhesion is essential for tissue development and homeostasis. Stable cell junctions maintain normal tissue architecture, but, during embryogenesis, tissue regeneration and cancer cell migration, adhesive contacts loosen and become traction sites for cellular rearrangement. Previous studies have identified essential molecules for the assembly and maintenance of cell adhesion. Yet, we know very little about the mechanical role of cell adhesion as a site of force transmission. Cellular traction forces are generated by the actin cytoskeleton, and the remodeling of the actin network is thought to regulate the strength and dynamics of cell adhesion. The precise molecular linkage between the adhesion complex and the actin cytoskeleton, however, remains elusive. This review discusses novel experimental techniques that probe cellular forces exerted at the sites of adhesive contacts, and how these forces can explain the roles of cell adhesion in orchestrating multi-cellular behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Cell Biology Research
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781613240021
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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