Mechanical stretch scales centriole number to apical area via Piezo1 in multiciliated cells

How cells count and regulate organelle number is a fundamental question in cell biology. For example, most cells restrict centrioles to two in number and assemble one cilium; however, multiciliated cells (MCCs) synthesize hundreds of centrioles to assemble multiple cilia. Aberration in centriole/cilia number impairs MCC function and can lead to pathological outcomes. Yet how MCCs control centriole number remains unknown. Using Xenopus, we demonstrate that centriole number scales with apical area over a remarkable 40-fold change in size. We find that tensile forces that shape the apical area also trigger centriole amplification based on both cell stretching experiments and disruption of embryonic elongation. Unexpectedly, Piezo1, a mechanosensitive ion channel, localizes near each centriole suggesting a potential role in centriole amplification. Indeed, depletion of Piezo1 affects centriole amplification and disrupts its correlation with the apical area in a tension dependent manner. Thus, mechanical forces calibrate cilia/centriole number to the MCC apical area via Piezo1. Our results provide new perspectives to study organelle number control essential for optimal cell function.