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The Progress in Nuclear Biomechanics
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The nucleus, which plays crucial roles in regulating life activities, is the largest and stiffest organelle in the cell and serves as the center of genetic information storage, replication, and transcription. Biomechanical factors have been shown to be of paramount importance in regulating dynamic changes of nuclear structures and functions. As typical mechanical responsive elements of the nucleus, nucleoskeletal proteins and nuclear pore complexes maintain the morphology and structure of the nucleus, and transmit mechanical forces from the cytoskeleton to chromatin. These factors affect a range of nuclear-related processes, including chromatin conformation and gene expression, and ultimately regulate cellular functions. The sensation and transduction of mechanical signals via nuclear components are one of the emerging cutting edges in biomechanics. To gain a deeper understanding of the mechanical properties of the nucleus in physiological and pathological states, and to elucidate its roles and mechanisms in cell fate determination, this review summarizes the research progresses related to nuclear biomechanics, focusing on the physical structures of nucleoskeleton, nuclear pore complex, and chromatin, the processes of mechanical responses, the interactions among these nuclear components, and the technological advances in nuclear biomechanics. Finally, the relationship between nucleus and the progeria, neurodegeneration or cardiovascular diseases and the future advancements of nuclear biomechanics are prospected.