Dynamic, mechanical integration between nucleus and cell- where physics meets biology. Academic Article uri icon


  • Nuclear motions like rotation, translation and deformation suggest that the nucleus is acted upon by mechanical forces. Molecular linkages with the cytoskeleton are thought to transfer forces to the nuclear surface. We developed an approach to apply reproducible, known mechanical forces to the nucleus in spread adherent cells and quantified the elastic response of the mechanically integrated nucleus-cell. The method is sensitive to molecular perturbations and revealed new insight into the function of the LINC complex. While these experiments revealed elastic behaviors, turnover of the cytoskeleton by assembly/disassembly and binding/unbinding of linkages are expected to dissipate any stored mechanical energy in the nucleus or the cytoskeleton. Experiments investigating nuclear forces over longer time scales demonstrated the mechanical principle that expansive/compressive stresses on the nuclear surface arise from the movement of the cell boundaries to shape and position the nucleus. Such forces can shape the nucleus to conform to cell shapes during cell movements with or without myosin activity.

author list (cited authors)

  • Dickinson, R. B., Neelam, S., & Lele, T. P.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • September 2015