A virtually universal feature of adherent cells is their ability to exert traction forces. To measure these forces, several methods have been developed over the past 15 years. In this issue of Applied Mechanics Reviews, Álvarez-González and co-workers review their own traction force microscopy approach and its application to the study of amoeboid cell locomotion. They show that the cycle of cell motility is exquisitely synchronized by a cycle of traction forces. In addition, they show how traction forces and cell cycle synchronization are affected by myosin and SCAR/WAVE mutants. Here, I discuss some open questions that derive from the work of the authors and other laboratories as regards the relationship between cell motility and traction forces.

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