Cellular Mechanics

The mechanics of cellular left and right

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Science  10 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6231, pp. 197-198
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6231.197-b

Cells need to distinguish between left and right to interact during collective movement or embryonic development. To reveal the underlying cellular mechanics, Tee et al. studied the organization of actin in human cells using fluorescence, electron microscopy, and computational simulations. Actin fibers forming the cellular skeleton rearranged themselves from a symmetric to an asymmetric pattern through interplay between two types of fibers. The unidirectional tilting of the radial fibers and swirling of the transverse fibers were driven by contractile stress and rotational growth. The actin-crosslinking protein controlled the clockwise or anticlockwise dynamics of the actin network, establishing the left-right asymmetry of the cell.

Nat. Cell Biol. 10.1038/ncb3137 (2015).

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