Polarized Mechanosensitive Signaling Domains Protect Arterial Endothelial Cells Against Inflammation

bioRxiv. 2023 May 26;2023.05.26.542500. doi: 10.1101/2023.05.26.542500. Preprint


Endothelial cells (ECs) in the descending aorta are exposed to high laminar shear stress, which supports an anti-inflammatory phenotype that protects them from atherosclerosis. High laminar shear stress also supports flow-aligned cell elongation and front-rear polarity, but whether this is required for athero-protective signaling is unclear. Here, we show that Caveolin-1-rich microdomains become polarized at the downstream end of ECs exposed to continuous high laminar flow. These microdomains are characterized by higher membrane rigidity, filamentous actin (F-actin) and lipid accumulation. Transient receptor potential vanilloid-type 4 (Trpv4) ion channels, while ubiquitously expressed, mediate localized Ca 2+ entry at these microdomains where they physically interact with clustered Caveolin-1. The resultant focal bursts in Ca 2+ activate the anti-inflammatory factor endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) within the confines of these domains. Importantly, we find that signaling at these domains requires both cell body elongation and sustained flow. Finally, Trpv4 signaling at these domains is necessary and sufficient to suppress inflammatory gene expression. Our work reveals a novel polarized mechanosensitive signaling hub that induces an anti-inflammatory response in arterial ECs exposed to high laminar shear stress.

Publication types

  • Preprint