Signal transmission from the mechanical forces to the various intracellular activities is a fundamental process during tissue development. Despite their critical role, the mechanism of mechanical forces in the biological process is poorly understood. In this study, we demonstrated that in the response to hydrostatic pressure (HP), the piezo type mechanosensitive ion channel component 1 (PIEZO1) is a primary mechanosensing receptor for odontoblast differentiation through coordination of the WNT expression and ciliogenesis. In stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHED), HP significantly promoted calcium deposition as well as the expression of odontogenic marker genes, PANX3 and DSPP, and WNT related-genes including WNT5b and WNT16, whereas HP inhibited cell proliferation and enhanced primary cilia expression. WNT signaling inhibitor XAV939 and primary cilia inhibitor chloral hydrate blocked the HP-induced calcium deposition. The PIEZO1 activator Yoda1 inhibited cell proliferation but induced ciliogenesis and WNT16 expression. Interestingly, HP and Yoda1 promoted nuclear translocation of RUNX2, whereas siRNA-mediated silencing of PIEZO1 decreased HP-induced nuclear translocation of RUNX2. Taken together, these results suggest that PIEZO1 functions as a mechanotransducer that connects HP signal to the intracellular signalings during odontoblast differentiation.
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