Contractile actin-myosin networks generate forces that drive cell shape changes and tissue remodeling during development. These forces can also actively regulate cell signaling and behavior. Novel features of actin-myosin network dynamics, such as pulsed contractile behaviors and the regulation of myosin localization by tension, have been uncovered in recent studies of Drosophila. In vitro studies of single molecules and reconstituted protein networks reveal intrinsic properties of motor proteins and actin-myosin networks, while in vivo studies have provided insight into the regulation of their dynamics and organization. Analysis of the complex behaviors of actin-myosin networks will be crucial for understanding force generation in actively remodeling cells and the coordination of cell shape and movement at the tissue level. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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