Mechanotransduction plays a crucial role in vascular biology. One example of this is the local regulation of vascular resistance via flow-mediated dilation (FMD). Impairment of this process is a hallmark of endothelial dysfunction and a precursor to a wide array of vascular diseases, such as hypertension and atherosclerosis. Yet the molecules responsible for sensing flow (shear stress) within endothelial cells remain largely unknown. We designed a 384-well screening system that applies shear stress on cultured cells. We identified a mechanosensitive cell line that exhibits shear stress-activated calcium transients, screened a focused RNAi library, and identified GPR68 as necessary and sufficient for shear stress responses. GPR68 is expressed in endothelial cells of small-diameter (resistance) arteries. Importantly, Gpr68-deficient mice display markedly impaired acute FMD and chronic flow-mediated outward remodeling in mesenteric arterioles. Therefore, GPR68 is an essential flow sensor in arteriolar endothelium and is a critical signaling component in cardiovascular pathophysiology.
Myeloid-biased hematopoietic stem cells (MB-HSCs) play critical roles in recovery from injury, but little is known about how they are regulated within the bone marrow niche. Here we describe an auto-/paracrine physiologic circuit that controls quiescence of MB-HSCs and hematopoietic progenitors marked by histidine decarboxylase (Hdc). Committed Hdc+ myeloid cells lie in close anatomical proximity to MB-HSCs and produce histamine, which activates the H2 receptor on MB-HSCs to promote their quiescence and self-renewal. Depleting histamine-producing cells enforces cell cycle entry, induces loss of serial transplant capacity, and sensitizes animals to chemotherapeutic injury. Increasing demand for myeloid cells via lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatment specifically recruits MB-HSCs and progenitors into the cell cycle; cycling MB-HSCs fail to revert into quiescence in the absence of histamine feedback, leading to their depletion, while an H2 agonist protects MB-HSCs from depletion after sepsis. Thus, histamine couples lineage-specific physiological demands to intrinsically primed MB-HSCs to enforce homeostasis.