Protein braces optimal vascular system staging

A protein has been identified that acts as a sensor of mechanical stimulation and are essential for sensing blood flow and supporting optimal performance of the vascular system. To determine which molecules are capable of sensing shear stress, investigators at the Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, CA, USA) designed a 384-well screening system that applied shear stress to cultured cells. “In a model organism, this protein is essential for sensing blood flow, and the proper functioning of the vascular system,” said senior author Dr. Ardem Patapoutian, a professor at the Scripps Research Institute “It has been known for decades that blood vessels sense changes in blood flow rate, and this information is crucial in regulating blood vessel dilation and controlling vascular tone. This class of G protein-coupled receptors is activated when extracellular pH falls into the range of 6.4-6.8 (typical values are above 7.0. The functional role of the low pH sensitivity of the proton-sensing G protein-coupled receptors is being studied in several tissues where cells respond to conditions of low pH including bone and inflamed tissues. The expression of different candidate genes in each of the 384 wells was “knocked down” with siRNA (short interfering RNA), and the modified cells were evaluated to determine if that specific gene was required for responding to shear stress.
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