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Emerging views of the nucleus as a cellular mechanosensor

Abstract

The ability of cells to respond to mechanical forces is critical for numerous biological processes. Emerging evidence indicates that external mechanical forces trigger changes in nuclear envelope structure and composition, chromatin organization and gene expression. However, it remains unclear if these processes originate in the nucleus or are downstream of cytoplasmic signals. Here we discuss recent findings that support a direct role of the nucleus in cellular mechanosensing and highlight novel tools to study nuclear mechanotransduction.

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Fig. 1: Schematic overview of nuclear envelope proteins involved in force transmission to the nucleus.
Fig. 2: Proposed mechanisms for how the cell nucleus could respond directly to mechanical forces.
Fig. 3: Technologies to study the effect of force transmission to the nucleus on genome organization and gene regulation.

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Acknowledgements

We apologize to all authors whose work could not be cited due to space constraints. This work was supported by awards from the National Institutes of Health (R01 HL082792 and U54 CA210184), the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (Breakthrough Award BC150580), the National Science Foundation (CAREER Award CBET-1254846 and MCB-1715606) and a Fleming Postdoctoral Fellowship to T.J.K.

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Kirby, T.J., Lammerding, J. Emerging views of the nucleus as a cellular mechanosensor. Nat Cell Biol 20, 373–381 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41556-018-0038-y

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