Mechanosensitive TRPV4 channel guides maturation and organization of the bilayered mammary epithelium

Kärki Tytti, Koskimäki Sanna, Guenther Carla, Pirhonen Jonatan, Rajakylä Kaisa, Tojkander Sari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Biophysical cues from the cell microenvironment are detected by mechanosensitive components at the cell surface. Such machineries convert physical information into biochemical signaling cascades within cells, subsequently leading to various cellular responses in a stimulus-dependent manner. At the surface of extracellular environment and cell cytoplasm exist several ion channel families that are activated by mechanical signals to direct intracellular events. One of such channel is formed by transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member, TRPV4 that is known to act as a mechanosensor in wide variaty of tissues and control ion-influx in a spatio-temporal way. Here we report that TRPV4 is prominently expressed in the stem/progenitor cell populations of the mammary epithelium and seems important for the lineage-specific differentiation, consequently affecting mechanical features of the mature mammary epithelium. This was evident by the lack of several markers for mature myoepithelial and luminal epithelial cells in TRPV4-depleted cell lines. Interestingly, TRPV4 expression is controlled in a tension-dependent manner and it also impacts differentation process dependently on the stiffness of the microenvironment. Furthermore, such cells in a 3D compartment were disabled to maintain normal mammosphere structures and displayed abnormal lumen formation, size of the structures and disrupted cellular junctions. Mechanosensitive TRPV4 channel therefore act as critical player in the homeostasis of normal mammary epithelium through sensing the physical environment and guiding accordingly differentiation and structural organization of the bilayered mammary epithelium.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6774
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Actin cytoskeleton
  • Breast cancer
  • Differentiation
  • Epithelial integrity
  • Mammary epithelium
  • Mechanosensing
  • TRPV4


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