Piezo1 acts upstream of TRPV4 to induce pathological changes in endothelial cells due to shear stress [Signal Transduction]

December 9th, 2020 by Sandip M Swain, Rodger A Liddle

The ion channels Piezo1 and TRPV4 have both, independently, been implicated in high venous pressure- and fluid shear stress-induced vascular hyperpermeability in endothelial cells. However, the mechanism by which Piezo1 and TRPV4 channels execute the same function is poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that Piezo1 regulates TRPV4 channel activation in endothelial cells and that Piezo1-mediated TRPV4 channel opening is a function of the strength and duration of fluid shear stress. We first confirmed that either fluid shear stress or the Piezo1 agonist, Yoda1, led to an elevation in intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i), and that application of the Piezo1 antagonist, GsMTx4, completely blocked this change. We discovered that high and prolonged shear stress caused sustained [Ca2+]i elevation which was blocked by inhibition of TRPV4 channel opening. Moreover, Piezo1 stimulated TRPV4 opening through activation of phospholipase A2. TRPV4-dependent sustained [Ca2+]i elevation was responsible for fluid shear stress- and Piezo1-mediated disruption of adherens junctions and actin remodeling. Blockade of TRPV4 channels with the selective TRPV4 blocker, HC067047, prevented the loss of endothelial cell integrity and actin disruption induced by Yoda1 or shear stress and prevented Piezo1-induced monocyte adhesion to endothelial cell monolayers. These findings demonstrate that Piezo1 activation by fluid shear stress initiates a calcium signal that causes TRPV4 opening which in turn is responsible for the sustained phase calcium elevation that triggers pathological events in endothelial cells. Thus, deleterious effects of shear stress are initiated by Piezo1 but require TRPV4.