March 2020
Vol 6, Issue 10

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Integrins—proteins on cell membranes that function as receptors—play a key role in cell function, attaching the cytoskeleton to a three-dimensional network of large molecules outside the cell that help bind it to its neighbors. The role of integrin in these cellular processes is highly complex, and the organization of proteins within sites where the cell adheres to large extracellular molecules is not well understood, leading scientists to seek modelling approaches to identify its regulatory mechanisms. To explain how the molecular organization of proteins at adhesion sites regulated by integrin control shape, stability, signaling, and the transmission of forces, Cheng et al. developed a modeling approach based on a hexagonal grid-like pattern where integrin proteins are free to change positions or form clusters. The modeling results predicted that the ways in which integrins cluster ultimately determine how different cell types convert mechanical signals—suggesting a new pathway through which cells to respond to their mechanical environment. [CREDIT: MIN LIN, XI'AN JIAOTONG UNIVERSITY]