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Cell nuclei are paramount for both cellular function and mechanical stability. These two roles of nuclei are intertwined as altered mechanical properties of nuclei are associated with altered cell behavior and disease. To further understand the mechanical properties of cell nuclei and guide future experiments, many investigators have turned to mechanical modeling. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of mechanical modeling of cell nuclei with an emphasis on the role of the nuclear lamina in hopes of spurring future growth of this field. The goal of this review is to provide an introduction to mechanical modeling techniques, highlight current applications to nuclear mechanics, and give insight into future directions of mechanical modeling. There are three main classes of mechanical models—schematic, continuum mechanics, and molecular dynamics—which provide unique advantages and limitations. Current experimental understanding of the roles of the cytoskeleton, the nuclear lamina, and the chromatin in nuclear mechanics provide the basis for how each component is subsequently treated in mechanical models. Modeling allows us to interpret assay-specific experimental results for key parameters and quantitatively predict emergent behaviors. This is specifically powerful when emergent phenomena, such as lamin-based strain stiffening, can be deduced from complimentary experimental techniques. Modeling differences in force application, geometry, or composition can additionally clarify seemingly conflicting experimental results. Using these approaches, mechanical models have informed our understanding of relevant biological processes such as migration, nuclear blebbing, nuclear rupture, and cell spreading and detachment. There remain many aspects of nuclear mechanics for which additional mechanical modeling could provide immediate insight. Although mechanical modeling of cell nuclei has been employed for over a decade, there are still relatively few models for any given biological phenomenon. This implies that an influx of research into this realm of the field has the potential to dramatically shape both future experiments and our current understanding of nuclear mechanics, function, and disease.







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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.