Mechanical loading influences skeletal structural integrity and bone remodeling. Application of a mechanical stimulus such as fluid flow shear stress to the bone osteocytes activates the cascade of mechanotransduction mediated by multiple signaling molecules. Hemichannels formed by connexin molecules are emerging as a candidate mechanosensor. Connexin 43 (Cx43) hemichannels open in response to mechanical stimulation to release bone modulators which influence bone remodeling. Our study identified a direct interaction between integrin α5 and Cx43 which was essential for hemichannels to open. Uncoupling the interaction blocked the hemichannels and shear stress enhanced the interaction between the two proteins to promote channel opening. More importantly, integrin α5, independent of its association with fibronectin, was activated upon shear stress through a PI3K signaling pathway. These results suggest a critical regulatory mechanism for Cx43 hemichannel opening through the association of integrin α5, resulting in release of bone anabolic factors required for bone development.
- Bone osteocytes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)