Organisms are able to recover from injuries by replacing damaged tissues, which recover by replacing damaged cells and extracellular structures. Similarly, a cell recovers from injuries by replacing damaged components of its structural integrity: its plasma membrane and cytoskeletal structures. Cells can be thought of as tensegral structures, their structural integrity relying on the interplay between tensile forces generated within and without the cell, and the compressive elements that counteracts them. As such, direct or indirect insults to the plasma membrane or cytoskeleton of a cell may not only result in the temporary loss of structural integrity, but also directly impact its ability to respond to its environment. This chapter will focus on the various aspects linking tensile forces and single-cell wound healing: where and how are they generated, how does the cell counteract them and how does the cell return to its previous tensegrity state? These questions will be explored using ubiquitous and cell-type specific examples of single-cell repair processes. Special attention will be given to changes in plasma membrane composition and area to cytoskeletal dynamics, and how these factor each other to influence and effect single-cell repair.
Part of the book: Wound Healing