Mechanotransduction and anoikis: Death and the homeless cell

Zhenyi Ma, Zhe Liu, David P. Myers, Lance S. Terada

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Developed organs display strict spatial organization of differentiated cells which is required for proper organ function. One important device that prevents tissue disorganization is the death of cells that lose anchorage to their native matrix, a signal that indicates potential loss of proper tissue context. Termed anoikis (Greek for Homelessness), this form of cell death is a specialized form of apoptosis. Interestingly, at certain stages of development and tissue repair, cells are required to migrate in an unanchored state, suggesting that anoikis must be strictly regulated at some level. Likewise, cellular transformation is often accompanied by an inappropriate loss of anoikis and subsequent acquisition of a metastatic phenotype. Despite its importance, the molecular pathways involved in the regulation of anoikis and the proximal signals reporting loss of anchorage are poorly understood. Recent studies suggest that attachment may be reported by a mechanosensory testing of the cell's physical environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2462-2465
Number of pages4
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 2008


  • Focal adhesion
  • Mechanotransduction
  • RhoA
  • Shc
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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