PerspectiveCell Biology

Shrinking Gels Pull Cells

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Science  21 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5649, pp. 1340-1341
DOI: 10.1126/science.1092041

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Since the days of van Leeuwenhoek in the 1600s, cell biologists have marveled at how cells crawl. Although much is understood about the contractile forces generated at the leading edge of the crawling cell, little is known about the retraction force at the rear of the cell. In their Perspective, Mogilner and Oster discuss new work ( Miao et al.) in an in vitro system consisting of nematode sperm cell extracts that reveals how the retraction force is generated.