The volumes of living cells undergo dynamic changes to maintain the cells’ structural and functional integrity in many physiological processes. Minor fluctuations in cell volume can serve as intrinsic signals that play a crucial role in cell fate determination during mechanotransduction. In this review, we discuss the variability of cell volume and its role in vivo, along with an overview of the mechanisms governing cell volume regulation. Additionally, we provide insights into the current approaches used to control cell volume in vitro. Furthermore, we summarize the biological implications of cell volume regulation and discuss recent advances in understanding the fundamental relationship between cell volume and mechanotransduction. Finally, we delve into the potential underlying mechanisms, including intracellular macromolecular crowding and cellular mechanics, that govern the global regulation of cell fate in response to changes in cell volume. By exploring the intricate interplay between cell volume and mechanotransduction, we underscore the importance of considering cell volume as a fundamental signaling cue to unravel the basic principles of mechanotransduction. Additionally, we propose future research directions that can extend our current understanding of cell volume in mechanotransduction. Overall, this review highlights the significance of considering cell volume as a fundamental signal in understanding the basic principles in mechanotransduction and points out the possibility of controlling cell volume to control cell fate, mitigate disease-related damage, and facilitate the healing of damaged tissues.

Expected final online publication date for the , Volume 53 is May 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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