P2Y2 receptor modulates shear stress-induced cell alignment and actin stress fibers in human umbilical vein endothelial cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Endothelial cells release ATP in response to fluid shear stress, which activates purinergic (P2) receptor-mediated signaling molecules including endothelial nitric oxide (eNOS), a regulator of vascular tone. While P2 receptor-mediated signaling in the vasculature is well studied, the role of P2Y2 receptors in shear stress-associated endothelial cell alignment, cytoskeletal alterations, and wound repair remains ill defined. To address these aspects, human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) monolayers were cultured on gelatin-coated dishes and subjected to a shear stress of 1 Pa. HUVECs exposed to either P2Y2 receptor antagonists or siRNA showed impaired fluid shear stress-induced cell alignment, and actin stress fiber formation as early as 6 h. Similarly, when compared to cells expressing the P2Y2 Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) wild-type receptors, HUVECs transiently expressing the P2Y2 Arg-Gly-Glu (RGE) mutant receptors showed reduced cell alignment and actin stress fiber formation in response to shear stress as well as to P2Y2 receptor agonists in static cultures. Additionally, we observed reduced shear stress-induced phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (Y397), and cofilin-1 (S3) with receptor knockdown as well as in cells expressing the P2Y2 RGE mutant receptors. Consistent with the role of P2Y2 receptors in vasodilation, receptor knockdown and overexpression of P2Y2 RGE mutant receptors reduced shear stress-induced phosphorylation of AKT (S473), and eNOS (S1177). Furthermore, in a scratched wound assay, shear stress-induced cell migration was reduced by both pharmacological inhibition and receptor knockdown. Together, our results suggest a novel role for P2Y2 receptor in shear stress-induced cytoskeletal alterations in HUVECs.


External organisations
  • University of Missouri-Columbia
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology


  • FAK, Integrins, P2Y receptors, Shear stress, Wound repair
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-746
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number4
Early online date2016 Sep 20
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch