About this Research Topic
Over the last two decades, it has become increasingly evident that cell behaviours (e.g. adhesion, spreading, proliferation, differentiation) are not only regulated by biochemical factors but also affected by physical signals in the cellular microenvironment. Thus, mechanobiology has emerged as a highly interdisciplinary research field investigating the cellular mechanosensing and mechanotransduction processes. Recently, the development of mechanobiology research highlights the great importance of applying functional biomaterials to investigate the key mechanobiological elements that direct cell behaviors and functions. In order to study mechanosensing and mechanotransduction, biomaterials mimicking cellular microenvironment, with tunable physical and biochemical properties as well as controllable features (viscoelasticity, degradability, porosity, and topography), have rapidly emerged. This has uncovered integrated and adaptive cellular behaviors through the interactions between cells and the microenvironment. Engineered functional biomaterials also contribute to the successful development of clinical therapies for diseases and tissue engineering applications by modulating and guiding cell mechanosensitive responses.
It has been widely appreciated that well-defined biophysical and biochemical features of the microenvironment are required for the development of many critical cell mechanoresponses observed in vivo. This fuels the urge for exploring cellular mechanosensing and mechanostranduction. Progress in the design of functional biomaterials has improved our understanding of how cells sense and respond to external signals, and has advanced the fields of tissue engineering, mechanobiology, and cell biology. However, the field of cell mechanoresponse is still in its infancy, and recent progress investigating fundamental cell-microenvironment interactions continue to challenge early findings. Key remaining challenges are (i) decoupling the effects of different properties (chemistry, structure, and mechanics) in the cell microenvironment, (ii) understanding and harnessing the roles of periodicity and drift in these factors, (iii) understanding the molecular mechanisms that govern the mechanosensing and mechanotransduction process. The goal of the current Research Topic is to cover recent research investigating and probing cell responses to diverse mechanical cues by functional material tools. In addition, an elaborate summary of current progresses and mechanisms that underlie the biophysical regulation of cell behaviors will be outlined.
This Research Topic focuses on several aspects of cell mechanosensing and mechanotransduction as well as cell/biomaterial interaction. We welcome contributions of Reviews and Original Research papers reporting recent efforts in the field of biomedical engineering. Areas to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:
• cell mechanosensitive response to microenvironment
• mechano-mediated cell behaviors
• cell-material interaction
• cellular force measurement
• focal adhesion formation
• cytoskeleton assembly
• biomaterials-mediated regulation of cell fate determination
Dr. Min Bao has taken on the role of Co-ordinator of this Research Topic.
Keywords: Biomaterials, Cell, Mechanotransduction, Mechanobiology, Tissue Engineering
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.