«If cells are placed on a microscope slide, they flatten under gravity. When cells are surrounded by other cells, proteins called integrins attach one cell to another at specific locations. These act as tensegrity wires, pulling the cells taut in all directions. When the integrin network is disrupted, the cells sag. And when cells are placed on a flexible base, such as a rubber sheet, they pucker the sheet. Tensegrity accounts for these cells' properties , and they can be demonstrated with the model.
Whether or not the cell is a tensegrity structure is still controversial, but in a series of recent papers, Ingber and his team have been gradually picking off the objections with detailed studies of the cell's skeleton. For the lay observer, pictures of the cell showing a geodesic structure are highly suggestive. »