Science Signaling Podcast: 8 May 2012

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Sci. Signal.  08 May 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 223, pp. pc10
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003146

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This Podcast features a conversation with the senior author of a Report published in the 4 May 2012 issue of Science. Mark Nelson discusses his group’s use of a biosensor to investigate calcium (Ca2+) signaling in the endothelial cells that line arteries. Ca2+ signaling in endothelial cells is critical for their ability to regulate the function of the underlying vascular smooth muscle cells. Contraction and dilation of the smooth muscle cells control blood vessel diameter, which is important for regulating blood flow and pressure. Nelson’s group identified localized Ca2+ signals generated by influx through single TRPV4 (transient receptor potential 4) cation channels, with activation of just a few channels per cell causing maximal vessel dilation. These results indicate that a small number of endothelial cell TRPV4 channels regulate vascular physiology and suggest that aberrant activation of these channels may be involved in pathological reductions in blood pressure or increases in blood vessel permeability.

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