Cells actively sense the mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix, such as its rigidity, morphology, and deformation. The cell–matrix interaction influences a range of cellular processes, including cell adhesion, migration, and differentiation, among others. This article aims to review some of the recent progress that has been made in modeling mechanosensing in cell–matrix interactions at different length scales. The issues discussed include specific interactions between proteins, the structure and mechanosensitivity of focal adhesions, the cluster effects of the specific binding, the structure and behavior of stress fibers, cells' sensing of substrate stiffness, and cell reorientation on cyclically stretched substrates. The review concludes by looking toward future opportunities in the field and at the challenges to understanding active cell–matrix interactions.


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