PerspectiveCell Biology

Strength Under Tension

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Science  30 Aug 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6149, pp. 965-966
DOI: 10.1126/science.1243643

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Mechanics control gene expression to modulate tissue-specific differentiation, but the molecular mechanisms that underlie these effects remain unclear. On page 10.1126/science.1240104 of this issue, Swift et al. (1) link tissue specificity and extracellular matrix stiffness to the relative abundance of the nuclear envelope protein lamin A. The findings support the idea that mechanical links exist between the nucleus and the extracellular microenvironment that direct cell fate, and imply that force mediates these effects by altering the biophysical properties of the nucleus.