Piezo1 mediates angiogenesis through activation of MT1-MMP signaling.
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Angiogenesis is initiated in response to a variety of external cues, including mechanical and biochemical stimuli; however, the underlying signaling mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we investigated the proangiogenic role of the endothelial mechanosensor Piezo1. Genetic deletion and pharmacological inhibition of Piezo1 reduced endothelial sprouting and lumen formation induced by wall shear stress and proangiogenic mediator sphingosine 1-phosphate, whereas Piezo1 activation by selective Piezo1 activator Yoda1 enhanced sprouting angiogenesis. Similarly to wall shear stress, sphingosine 1-phosphate functioned by activating the Ca2+ gating function of Piezo1, which in turn signaled the activation of the matrix metalloproteinase-2 and membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase during sprouting angiogenesis. Studies in mice in which Piezo1 was conditionally deleted in endothelial cells demonstrated the requisite role of sphingosine 1-phosphate-dependent activation of Piezo1 in mediating angiogenesis in vivo. These results taken together suggest that both mechanical and biochemical stimuli trigger Piezo1-mediated Ca2+ influx and thereby activate matrix metalloproteinase-2 and membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase and synergistically facilitate sprouting angiogenesis.