From cellular to molecular mechanobiology.
Author: Cheng Zhu
Mechanobiology at the cellular level is concerned with what phenotypes that cells exhibit to maintain homeostasis in their normal physiological mechanical environment, as well as what phenotypical changes that cells have to make when their environment is altered. Mechanobiology at the molecular level aims to understand the molecular underpinning of how cells sense, respond to, and adapt to mechanical cues in their environment. In this Perspective, we use our work inspired by and in collaboration with Professor Shu Chien as an example with which we connect the mechanobiology between the cellular and molecular levels. We discuss how physical forces acting on intracellular proteins may impact protein-protein interaction, change protein conformation, crosstalk with biochemical signaling molecules, induce mechanotransduction, and alter the cell structure and function.