Understanding vascular mechanical sensitivity


  • Prof David Beech

    University of Leeds

Project summary

One of the most critical aspects of the endothelial cell is its sensitivity to mechanical forces, which arise because of the beating heart, tissue remodelling, external insults and other factors. Piezo1, a large multi-pass membrane protein, has been linked to calcium signalling and mechanical sensitivity, and was found to be required for one of the earliest responses to sheer stress: activation of non-selective cationic channels to allow calcium entry. Piezo1 is considered to be pivotal in both the detection of physical force and its transduction into appropriate vascular architecture. With this award, Professor Beech aims to uncover new mechanistic understanding of the Piezo1 protein and to uncover how vascular mechanical sensitivity works in physiology. This research will lead to a greater understanding of the endothelial cell, the primary architect and architecture of vasculature in the brain, heart and all other major organs.