The major function of the lymphatic system is to drain interstitial fluid from tissue. Functional drainage causes increased fluid flow that triggers lymphatic expansion, which is conceptually similar to hypoxia-triggered angiogenesis. Here, we have identified a mechanotransduction pathway that translates laminar flow–induced shear stress to activation of lymphatic sprouting. While low-rate laminar flow commonly induces the classic shear stress responses in blood endothelial cells and lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs), only LECs display reduced Notch activity and increased sprouting capacity. In response to flow, the plasma membrane calcium channel ORAI1 mediates calcium influx in LECs and activates calmodulin to facilitate a physical interaction between Krüppel-like factor 2 (KLF2), the major regulator of shear responses, and PROX1, the master regulator of lymphatic development. The PROX1/KLF2 complex upregulates the expression of
Dongwon Choi, Eunkyung Park, Eunson Jung, Young Jin Seong, Jaehyuk Yoo, Esak Lee, Mingu Hong, Sunju Lee, Hiroaki Ishida, James Burford, Janos Peti-Peterdi, Ralf H. Adams, Sonal Srikanth, Yousang Gwack, Christopher S. Chen, Hans J. Vogel, Chester J. Koh, Alex K. Wong, Young-Kwon Hong
Laminar flow selectively suppresses NOTCH1 activity in LECs.