Generation of compartmentalized pressure by a nuclear piston governs cell motility in a 3D matrix

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Science  29 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6200, pp. 1062-1065
DOI: 10.1126/science.1256965

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Push me, pull you, that's the way to move

Primary cells, derived directly from human tissue, exhibit different behaviors in shape and signaling within three-dimensional (3D) or 2D spaces. When the pressure within the cell increases, cells display limb-like bumps, which they use to move through their 3D environment. Petrie et al. now show that when the complex of actin and myosin contracts, it controls the pressure within cells and therefore the shape of those protruding structures (see the Perspective by DeSimone and Horwitz). The authors measured internal pressures in migrating mammalian cells. In the 3D matrix, those cells have higher pressure that differs between the front and back of the cell, which creates a piston effect.

Science, this issue p. 1062; see also p. 1002