Mechanical principles of nuclear shaping and positioning. Academic Article uri icon


  • Positioning and shaping the nucleus represents a mechanical challenge for the migrating cell because of its large size and resistance to deformation. Cells shape and position the nucleus by transmitting forces from the cytoskeleton onto the nuclear surface. This force transfer can occur through specialized linkages between the nuclear envelope and the cytoskeleton. In response, the nucleus can deform and/or it can move. Nuclear movement will occur when there is a net differential in mechanical force across the nucleus, while nuclear deformation will occur when mechanical forces overcome the mechanical resistance of the various structures that comprise the nucleus. In this perspective, we review current literature on the sources and magnitude of cellular forces exerted on the nucleus, the nuclear envelope proteins involved in transferring cellular forces, and the contribution of different nuclear structural components to the mechanical response of the nucleus to these forces.

published proceedings

  • J Cell Biol

altmetric score

  • 20.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Lele, T. P., Dickinson, R. B., & Gundersen, G. G.

citation count

  • 79

complete list of authors

  • Lele, Tanmay P||Dickinson, Richard B||Gundersen, Gregg G

publication date

  • October 2018