Molecular mechanisms of cellular mechanics

Mu Gao, Marcos Sotomayor, Elizabeth Villa, Eric H. Lee, Klaus Schulten

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Mechanical forces play an essential role in cellular processes as input, output, and signals. Various protein complexes in the cell are designed to handle, transform and use such forces. For instance, proteins of muscle and the extracellular matrix can withstand considerable stretching forces, hearing-related and mechanosensory proteins can transform weak mechanical stimuli into electrical signals, and regulatory proteins are suited to forcing DNA into loops to control gene expression. Here we review the structure-function relationship of four protein complexes with well defined and representative mechanical functions. The first example is titin, a protein that confers passive elasticity on muscle. The second system is the elastic extracellular matrix protein, fibronectin, and its cellular receptor integrin. The third protein system is the transduction apparatus in hearing and other mechanical senses, likely containing cadherin and ankyrin repeats. The last system is the lac repressor protein, which regulates gene expression by looping DNA. This review focuses on atomic level descriptions of the physical mechanisms underlying the various mechanical functions of the stated proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3692-3706
Number of pages15
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Volume8
Issue number32
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular mechanisms of cellular mechanics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Gao, M., Sotomayor, M., Villa, E., Lee, E. H., & Schulten, K. (2006). Molecular mechanisms of cellular mechanics. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 8(32), 3692-3706. https://doi.org/10.1039/b606019f