The nucleus measures shape changes for cellular proprioception to control dynamic cell behavior

Valeria Venturini, Fabio Pezzano, Frederic Català Castro, Hanna Maria Häkkinen, Senda Jiménez-Delgado, Mariona Colomer-Rosell, Monica Marro, Queralt Tolosa-Ramon, Sonia Paz-López, Miguel A. Valverde, Julian Weghuber, Pablo Loza-Alvarez, Michael Krieg, Stefan Wieser, Verena Ruprecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

187 Citations (Scopus)


The physical microenvironment regulates cell behavior during tissue development and homeostasis. How single cells decode information about their geometrical shape under mechanical stress and physical space constraints within tissues remains largely unknown. Here, using a zebrafish model, we show that the nucleus, the biggest cellular organelle, functions as an elastic deformation gauge that enables cells to measure cell shape deformations. Inner nuclear membrane unfolding upon nucleus stretching provides physical information on cellular shape changes and adaptively activates a calcium-dependent mechanotransduction pathway, controlling actomyosin contractility and migration plasticity. Our data support that the nucleus establishes a functional module for cellular proprioception that enables cells to sense shape variations for adapting cellular behavior to their microenvironment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2644
JournalScience (New York, N.Y.)
Issue number6514
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2020


  • Actomyosin/metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Shape
  • Lipase/metabolism
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular
  • Myosin Type II/metabolism
  • Nuclear Envelope/physiology
  • Phospholipases A2, Cytosolic/metabolism
  • Zebrafish


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