Tissue cell differentiation and multicellular evolution via cytoskeletal stiffening in mechanically stressed microenvironments

Junwei Chen, Ning Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Evolution of eukaryotes from simple cells to complex multicellular organisms remains a mystery. Our postulate is that cytoskeletal stiffening is a necessary condition for evolution of complex multicellular organisms from early simple eukaryotes. Recent findings show that embryonic stem (ES) cells are as soft as primitive eukaryotes/amoebae and that differentiated tissue cells can be two orders of magnitude stiffer than ES cells. Soft ES cells become stiff as they differentiate into tissue cells of the complex multicellular organisms to match their microenvironment stiffness. We perhaps see in differentiation of ES cells (derived from inner cell mass cells) the echo of those early evolutionary events. Early soft unicellular organisms might have evolved to stiffen their cytoskeleton to protect their structural integrity from external mechanical stresses while being able to maintain form, to change shape, and to move.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-274
Number of pages5
JournalActa Mechanica Sinica/Lixue Xuebao
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019

Keywords

  • Amoebae
  • Bacteria
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Eukaryotes
  • Force

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanical Engineering

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