Cell mechanics: Moving under peer pressure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research studies conducted by Tambe et al. report an analysis of the coupling between cellular motion and mechanical forces in a continuous two-dimensional cell culture in vitro. They generate high-resolution maps for the measurement of the local stress field that the moving cells exert on the underlying elastic substrate. Under normal conditions the result is a cellular layer where the cytoskeleton of each cell is self-organized to maintain strong adhesions with its neighboring cells. Tambe et al. also find that the long-range ordering in the cellular traction forces and motion is communicated by strong cell-cell adhesions, cancer cells that move independently do not exhibit plithotaxis. It is suggested that controlling plithotaxis could potentially allow us to induce faster wound healing or impede metastasis. The observed behavior of a dense layer of cells, with its highly anisotropic field of intercellular forces and cell motion, resembles the dynamics observed in amorphous systems such as colloids, glasses, and granular materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-414
Number of pages3
JournalNature Materials
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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