NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Tensegrity I. Cell structure and hierarchical systems biologyIn 1993, a Commentary in this journal described how a simple mechanical model of cell structure based on tensegrity architecture can help to explain how cell shape, movement and cytoskeletal mechanics are controlled, as well as how cells sense and respond to mechanical forces (J. Cell Sci. 104, 613-627). The cellular tensegrity model can now be revisited and placed in context of new advances in our understanding of cell structure, biological networks and mechanoregulation that have been made over the past decade. Recent work provides strong evidence to support the use of tensegrity by cells, and mathematical formulations of the model predict many aspects of cell behavior. In addition, development of the tensegrity theory and its translation into mathematical terms are beginning to allow us to define the relationship between mechanics and biochemistry at the molecular level and to attack the larger problem of biological complexity. Part I of this two-part article covers the evidence for cellular tensegrity at the molecular level and describes how this building system may provide a structural basis for the hierarchical organization of living systems--from molecule to organism. Part II, which focuses on how these structural networks influence information processing networks, appears in the next issue.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Ingber, Donald E. (Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School Enders 1007, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of cell science
Volume: 116
Issue: Pt 7
ISSN: 0021-9533
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
NASA Program Fundamental Space Biology
Review, Academic
Non-NASA Center
NASA Discipline Developmental Biology