The identity and behavior of a cell is shaped by the molecular and mechanical composition of its surroundings. Molecular cues have firmly established roles in guiding both neuronal fate decisions and the migration of cells and axons. However, there is growing evidence that topographical and rigidity cues in the extracellular environment act synergistically with these molecular cues. Like chemical cues, physical factors do not elicit a fixed response, but rather one that depends on the sensory makeup of the cell. Moreover, from developmental studies and the plasticity of neural tissue, it is evident that there is dynamic feedback between physical and chemical factors to produce the final morphology. Here, we focus on our current understanding of how these physical cues shape cellular differentiation and migration, and discuss their relevance to repairing the injured nervous system.
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ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience