Molecular Biomechanics: The Molecular Basis of How Forces Regulate Cellular Function
Author: Bao G
Journal:Cell. Mol. Bioeng.
Recent advances have led to the emergence of molecular biomechanics as an essential element of modern biology. These efforts focus on theoretical and experimental studies of the mechanics of proteins and nucleic acids, and the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of stress transmission, mechanosensing and mechanotransduction in living cells. In particular, single-molecule biomechanics studies of proteins and DNA, and mechanochemical coupling in biomolecular motors have demonstrated the critical importance of molecular mechanics as a new frontier in bioengineering and life sciences. To stimulate a more systematic study of the basic issues in molecular biomechanics, and attract a broader range of researchers to enter this emerging field, here we discuss its significance and relevance, describe the important issues to be addressed and the most critical questions to be answered, summarize both experimental and theoretical/computational challenges, and identify some short-term and long-term goals for the field. The needs to train young researchers in molecular biomechanics with a broader knowledge base, and to bridge and integrate molecular, subcellular and cellular level studies of biomechanics are articulated.