The cell as a material

Karen E. Kasza, Amy C. Rowat, Jiayu Liu, Thomas E. Angelini, Clifford P. Brangwynne, Gijsje H. Koenderink, David A. Weitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

366 Scopus citations


To elucidate the dynamic and functional role of a cell within the tissue it belongs to, it is essential to understand its material properties. The cell is a viscoelastic material with highly unusual properties. Measurements of the mechanical behavior of cells are beginning to probe the contribution of constituent components to cell mechanics. Reconstituted cytoskeletal protein networks have been shown to mimic many aspects of the mechanical properties of cells, providing new insight into the origin of cellular behavior. These networks are highly nonlinear, with an elastic modulus that depends sensitively on applied stress. Theories can account for some of the measured properties, but a complete model remains elusive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-107
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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