Quantitative Cell Biology – Molecular Cell Adhesion Mechanics
Cells‘ ability to sense mechanical information is, to a large degree, mediated by macromolecular structures which mediate the adhesion of cells to the extracellular matrix (ECM) or to each other. The structures which mediate cell-ECM adhesion are based on integrin receptors and are called focal adhesions (FAs); the interaction between cells is realized by cadherin-based structures including adherens junctions (AJ) and desmosomes (DES). Even though the central role of these complexes for many mechanical processes during development and adult life has been appreciated for long time, it is still unknown how mechanical force propagate across cell-matrix and cell-cell adhesion on the molecular level. The combination of single-molecule calibrated biosensors with adanced microscopy allows us to adress these questions with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution.
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