Nat Commun. 2023;14(1):214. doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35843-3
Cardiac valves ensure unidirectional blood flow through the heart, and altering their function can result in heart failure. Flow sensing via wall shear stress and wall stretching through the action of mechanosensors can modulate cardiac valve formation. However, the identity and precise role of the key mechanosensors and their effectors remain mostly unknown. Here, we genetically dissect the role of Pkd1a and other mechanosensors in atrioventricular (AV) valve formation in zebrafish and identify a role for several pkd and piezo gene family members in this process. We show that Pkd1a, together with Pkd2, Pkd1l1, and Piezo2a, promotes AV valve elongation and cardiac morphogenesis. Mechanistically, Pkd1a, Pkd2, and Pkd1l1 all repress the expression of klf2a and klf2b, transcription factor genes implicated in AV valve development. Furthermore, we find that the calcium-dependent protein kinase Camk2g is required downstream of Pkd function to repress klf2a expression. Altogether, these data identify, and dissect the role of, several mechanosensors required for AV valve formation, thereby broadening our understanding of cardiac valvulogenesis.
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