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.
- Cell Movement
- Cell Shape
- Mechanotransduction, Cellular
- Myosin Type II/metabolism
- Nuclear Envelope/physiology
- Phospholipases A2, Cytosolic/metabolism