Physical influences of the extracellular environment on cell migration
The way in which a cell migrates is influenced by the physical properties of its surroundings, in particular the properties of the extracellular matrix. How the physical aspects of the cell's environment affect cell migration poses a considerable challenge when trying to understand migration in complex tissue environments and hinders the extrapolation of in vitro analyses to in vivo situations. A comprehensive understanding of these problems requires an integrated biochemical and biophysical approach. In this Review, we outline the findings that have emerged from approaches that span these disciplines, with a focus on actin-based cell migration in environments with different stiffness, dimensionality and geometry.