Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:


Cell dipoles feel their way

Biological cells respond actively to the physical properties of their surroundings as well as to external mechanical forces — a coupling that is captured in a model of a cell as a contractile dipole, and shown to drive cell re-orientation.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Stem cell and coarse-grain dipole model.



  1. De, R., Zemel, A. & Safran, S. A. Nature Phys. 3, 655–659 (2007).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  2. Bausch, A. R. & Kroy, K. Nature Phys. 2, 231–238 (2006).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Dalhaimer, P., Discher, D. E. & Lubensky, T. C. Nature Phys. 3, 354–360 (2007).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Kasza, K. E. et al. Curr. Opin. Cell Biol. 19, 101–107 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Janmey, P. A. & Weitz, D. A. Trends Biochem. Sci. 29, 364–370 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Engler, A. J., Sen, S., Sweeney, H. L. & Discher, D. E. Cell 126, 677–689 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bischofs, I. B. & Schwarz, U. S. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. 100, 9274–9279 (2003).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rehfeldt, F., Discher, D. Cell dipoles feel their way. Nature Phys 3, 592–593 (2007).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing