Regulation of actomyosin contractility
Contractile tubes are a hallmark of many important animal organs, such as blood and lymphatic vessels, lung airways, mammary and salivary glands, and urinal and reproductive tracts. In larger tubular tissues, contractility is afforded by smooth muscle cells surrounding epithelial cells, and in smaller tubes the epithelial or endothelial cells themselves are contractile. Misregulation of contractility, and hence of tube diameter, is responsible for several human diseases, such as hypertension and asthma. Mechanical cues, sensed by cell adhesion sites and the cytoskeleton, play an important role in regulating cellular contractility.