Neutrophil influx into the intestinal lumen is a critical response to infectious agents, but is also associated with severe intestinal damage observed in idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease. The chemoattractant hepoxilin A3, an eicosanoid secreted from intestinal epithelial cells by the apically restricted efflux pump multidrug resistance protein 2 (MRP2), mediates this neutrophil influx. Information about a possible counterbalance pathway that could signal the lack of or resolution of an apical inflammatory signal, however, has yet to be described. We now report a system with such hallmarks. Specifically, we identify endocannabinoids as the first known endogenous substrates of the apically restricted multidrug resistance transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and reveal a mechanism, which we believe is novel, for endocannabinoid secretion into the intestinal lumen. Knockdown or inhibition of P-gp reduced luminal secretion levels of N-acyl ethanolamine–type endocannabinoids, which correlated with increased neutrophil transmigration in vitro and in vivo. Additionally, loss of CB2, the peripheral cannabinoid receptor, led to increased pathology and neutrophil influx in models of acute intestinal inflammation. These results define a key role for epithelial cells in balancing the constitutive secretion of antiinflammatory lipids with the stimulated secretion of proinflammatory lipids via surface efflux pumps in order to control neutrophil infiltration into the intestinal lumen and maintain homeostasis in the healthy intestine.
Rose L. Szabady, Christopher Louissaint, Anneke Lubben, Bailu Xie, Shaun Reeksting, Christine Tuohy, Zachary Demma, Sage E. Foley, Christina S. Faherty, Alejandro Llanos-Chea, Andrew J. Olive, Randall J. Mrsny, Beth A. McCormick
Intestinal homeostasis depends on a slowly proliferating stem cell compartment in crypt cells, followed by rapid proliferation of committed progenitor cells in the transit amplifying (TA) compartment. The balance between proliferation and differentiation in intestinal stem cells (ISCs) is regulated by Wnt/β-catenin signaling, although the mechanism remains unclear. We previously targeted PORCN, an enzyme essential for all Wnt secretion, and demonstrated that stromal production of Wnts was required for intestinal homeostasis. Here, a PORCN inhibitor was used to acutely suppress Wnt signaling. Unexpectedly, the treatment induced an initial burst of proliferation in the stem cell compartment of the small intestine, due to conversion of ISCs into TA cells with a loss of intrinsic ISC self-renewal. This process involved MAPK pathway activation, as the proliferating cells in the base of the intestinal crypt contained phosphorylated ERK1/2, and a MEK inhibitor attenuated the proliferation of ISCs and their differentiation into TA cells. These findings suggest a role for Wnt signaling in suppressing the MAPK pathway at the crypt base to maintain a pool of ISCs. The interaction between Wnt and MAPK pathways in vivo has potential therapeutic applications in cancer and regenerative medicine.
Zahra Kabiri, Gediminas Greicius, Hamed Zaribafzadeh, Amanda Hemmerich, Christopher M. Counter, David M. Virshup
Chromatin remodeler Brahma related gene 1 (BRG1) is silenced in approximately 10% of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAs). We previously showed that BRG1 inhibits the formation of intraductal pancreatic mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) and that IPMN-derived PDA originated from ductal cells. However, the role of BRG1 in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia–derived (PanIN-derived) PDA that originated from acinar cells remains elusive. Here, we found that exclusive elimination of Brg1 in acinar cells of Ptf1a-CreER; KrasG12D; Brg1fl/fl mice impaired the formation of acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM) and PanIN independently of p53 mutation, while PDA formation was inhibited in the presence of p53 mutation. BRG1 bound to regions of the Sox9 promoter to regulate its expression and was critical for recruitment of upstream regulators, including PDX1, to the Sox9 promoter and enhancer in acinar cells. SOX9 expression was downregulated in BRG1-depleted ADMs/PanINs. Notably, Sox9 overexpression canceled this PanIN-attenuated phenotype in KBC mice. Furthermore, Brg1 deletion in established PanIN by using a dual recombinase system resulted in regression of the lesions in mice. Finally, BRG1 expression correlated with SOX9 expression in human PDAs. In summary, BRG1 is critical for PanIN initiation and progression through positive regulation of SOX9. Thus, the BRG1/SOX9 axis is a potential target for PanIN-derived PDA.
Motoyuki Tsuda, Akihisa Fukuda, Nilotpal Roy, Yukiko Hiramatsu, Laura Leonhardt, Nobuyuki Kakiuchi, Kaja Hoyer, Satoshi Ogawa, Norihiro Goto, Kozo Ikuta, Yoshito Kimura, Yoshihide Matsumoto, Yutaka Takada, Takuto Yoshioka, Takahisa Maruno, Yuichi Yamaga, Grace E. Kim, Haruhiko Akiyama, Seishi Ogawa, Christopher V. Wright, Dieter Saur, Kyoichi Takaori, Shinji Uemoto, Matthias Hebrok, Tsutomu Chiba, Hiroshi Seno
Acute pancreatitis (AP), a human disease in which the pancreas digests itself, has substantial mortality with no specific therapy. The major causes of AP are alcohol abuse and gallstone complications, but it also occurs as an important side effect of the standard Asparaginase-based therapy for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Previous investigations into the mechanisms underlying pancreatic acinar cell death induced by alcohol metabolites, bile acids or Asparaginase indicated that loss of intracellular ATP generation is a significant factor. In isolated mouse pancreatic acinar cells or cell clusters, we now report that removal of extracellular glucose had little effect on this ATP loss, suggesting that glucose metabolism was severely inhibited under these conditions. Surprisingly, we show that replacing glucose with galactose prevented or markedly reduced the loss of ATP and any subsequent necrosis. Addition of pyruvate had a similar protective effect. We also studied the effect of galactose in vivo in mouse models of AP induced either by a combination of fatty acids and ethanol or Asparaginase. In both cases, galactose markedly reduced acinar necrosis and inflammation. Based on these data we suggest that galactose feeding may be used to protect against AP.
Shuang Peng, Julia V. Gerasimenko, Tetyana M. Tsugorka, Oleksiy Gryshchenko, Sujith Samarasinghe, Ole H. Petersen, Oleg V. Gerasimenko
The tumor-suppressive role of trefoil factor family (TFF) members has been suggested in gastric carcinogenesis, but their significance and mechanisms in other digestive diseases remain elusive. To clarify the role of TFF1 in pancreatic carcinogenesis, we performed immunohistochemistry on human samples, transfected siRNA against TFF1 into pancreatic cancer cell lines, and employed mouse models in which PanIN development and loss of TFF1 occurs simultaneously. In human samples, the expression of TFF1 was specifically observed in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasm (PanIN) but was frequently lost in the invasive component of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). When the expression of TFF1 was suppressed in vitro, pancreatic cancer cell lines showed enhanced invasive ability and features of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), including upregulated Snail expression. TFF1 expression was also observed in PanIN lesions of Pdx-1 Cre; LSL-KRASG12D (KC) mice, a model of pancreatic cancer, and loss of TFF1 in these mice resulted in the expansion of PanIN lesions, an EMT phenotype in PanIN cells, and an accumulation of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), eventually resulting in the development of invasive adenocarcinoma. This study indicates that the acquisition of TFF1 expression is an early event in pancreatic carcinogenesis and that TFF1 might act as a tumor suppressor to prevent EMT and the invasive transformation of PanIN.
Junpei Yamaguchi, Yukihiro Yokoyama, Toshio Kokuryo, Tomoki Ebata, Atsushi Enomoto, Masato Nagino
Understanding the molecular basis of the regenerative response following hepatic injury holds promise for improved treatments of liver diseases. Here, we report an innovative method to profile gene expression specifically in the hepatocytes that regenerate the liver following toxic injury. We utilize the Fah–/– mouse, a model of hereditary tyrosinemia, which conditionally undergoes severe liver injury unless fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase (FAH) expression is reconstituted ectopically. We employ translating ribosome affinity purification followed by high-throughput RNA sequencing (TRAP-seq) to isolate mRNAs specific to repopulating hepatocytes. We uncover novel upstream regulators and important signaling pathways to be highly enriched in genes changed in regenerating hepatocytes. Specifically, we identify glutathione metabolism — particularly the gene Slc7a11 encoding the cystine/glutamate antiporter (xCT) — to be massively upregulated during liver regeneration. Furthermore, we show that Slc7a11 overexpression in hepatocytes enhances, and its suppression inhibits, repopulation following toxic injury. TRAP-seq allows cell type-specific expression profiling in repopulating hepatocytes and suggests xCT as a potential therapeutic target for supporting antioxidant responses during liver regeneration.
Amber W. Wang, Kirk J. Wangensteen, Yue J. Wang, Adam M. Zahm, Nicholas G. Moss, Noam Erez, Klaus H. Kaestner
In these studies we evaluated the contribution of the NLRP3 inflammasome to Crohn’s disease (CD) in a kindred containing individuals having a missense mutation in CARD8, a protein known to inhibit this inflammasome. Whole exome sequencing and PCR studies identified that the affected individuals had a V44I mutation in a single allele of the T60 isoform of CARD8. The serum levels of IL-1β in the affected individuals were increased compared with that in healthy controls and their peripheral monocytes produced increased amounts of IL-1β when stimulated by NLRP3 activators. Immunoblot studies probing the basis of these findings showed that mutated T60 CARD8 fails to down-regulate the NLRP3 inflammasome because it does not bind to NLRP3 and inhibit its oligomerization. In addition, these studies showed that mutated T60 CARD8 exerts a dominant negative effect by its capacity to bind to and form oligomers with unmutated T60 or T48 CARD8 that impede their binding to NLRP3. Finally, inflammasome activation studies revealed that intact but not mutated CARD8 prevents NLRP3 deubiquitination and serine dephosphorylation. CD due to a CARD8 mutation was not effectively treated by anti-TNF-α, but did respond to IL-1β inhibitors. Thus, patients with anti-TNF-α-resistant CD may respond to this treatment option.
Liming Mao, Atsushi Kitani, Morgan Similuk, Andrew J. Oler, Lindsey Albenberg, Judith Kelsen, Atiye Aktay, Martha Quezado, Michael Yao, Kim Montgomery-Recht, Ivan J. Fuss, Warren Strober
Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) represents a severe, T cell–driven inflammatory complication following allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). GVHD often affects the intestine and is associated with a poor prognosis. Although frequently detectable, proinflammatory mechanisms exerted by intestinal tissue–infiltrating Th cell subsets remain to be fully elucidated. Here, we show that the Th17-defining transcription factor basic leucine zipper transcription factor ATF-like (BATF) was strongly regulated across human and mouse intestinal GVHD tissues. Studies in complete MHC-mismatched and minor histocompatibility–mismatched (miHA-mismatched) GVHD models revealed that BATF-expressing T cells were functionally indispensable for intestinal GVHD manifestation. Mechanistically, BATF controlled the formation of colon-infiltrating, IL-7 receptor–positive (IL-7R+), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor–positive (GM-CSF+), donor T effector memory (Tem) cells. This T cell subset was sufficient to promote intestinal GVHD, while its occurrence was largely dependent on T cell–intrinsic BATF expression, required IL-7–IL-7R interaction, and was enhanced by GM-CSF. Thus, this study identifies BATF-dependent pathogenic GM-CSF+ effector T cells as critical promoters of intestinal inflammation in GVHD and hence putatively provides mechanistic insight into inflammatory processes previously assumed to be selectively Th17 driven.
Evelyn Ullrich, Benjamin Abendroth, Johanna Rothamer, Carina Huber, Maike Büttner-Herold, Vera Buchele, Tina Vogler, Thomas Longerich, Sebastian Zundler, Simon Völkl, Andreas Beilhack, Stefan Rose-John, Stefan Wirtz, Georg F. Weber, Sakhila Ghimire, Marina Kreutz, Ernst Holler, Andreas Mackensen, Markus F. Neurath, Kai Hildner
The tumor suppressor FBW7 targets oncoproteins such as c-MYC for ubiquitylation and is mutated in several human cancers. We noted that in a significant percentage of colon cancers, FBW7 protein is undetectable despite the presence of FBW7 mRNA. To understand the molecular mechanism of FBW7 regulation in these cancers, we employed proteomics and identified the deubiquitinase USP9X as an FBW7 interactor. USP9X antagonised FBW7 ubiquitylation, and Usp9x deletion caused Fbw7 destabilization. Mice lacking Usp9x in the gut showed reduced secretory cell differentiation and increased progenitor proliferation, phenocopying Fbw7 loss. In addition, Usp9x inactivation impaired intestinal regeneration and increased tumor burden in colitis-associated intestinal cancer. c-Myc heterozygosity abrogated increased progenitor proliferation and tumor burden in Usp9x-deficient mice, suggesting that Usp9x suppresses tumor formation by regulating Fbw7 protein stability and thereby reducing c-Myc. Thus, we identify a novel tumor suppressor mechanism in the mammalian intestine that arises from the posttranslational regulation of FBW7 by USP9X independent of somatic FBW7 mutations.
Omar M. Khan, Joana Carvalho, Bradley Spencer-Dene, Richard Mitter, David Frith, Ambrosius P. Snijders, Stephen A. Wood, Axel Behrens
Germline mutations in the gene encoding tumor suppressor kinase LKB1 lead to gastrointestinal tumorigenesis in Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) patients and mouse models; however, the cell types and signaling pathways underlying tumor formation are unknown. Here, we demonstrated that mesenchymal progenitor- or stromal fibroblast–specific deletion of Lkb1 results in fully penetrant polyposis in mice. Lineage tracing and immunohistochemical analyses revealed clonal expansion of Lkb1-deficient myofibroblast-like cell foci in the tumor stroma. Loss of Lkb1 in stromal cells was associated with induction of an inflammatory program including IL-11 production and activation of the JAK/STAT3 pathway in tumor epithelia concomitant with proliferation. Importantly, treatment of LKB1-defcient mice with the JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib dramatically decreased polyposis. These data indicate that IL-11–mediated induction of JAK/STAT3 is critical in gastrointestinal tumorigenesis following Lkb1 mutations and suggest that targeting this pathway has therapeutic potential in Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.
Saara Ollila, Eva Domènech-Moreno, Kaisa Laajanen, Iris P.L. Wong, Sushil Tripathi, Nalle Pentinmikko, Yajing Gao, Yan Yan, Elina H. Niemelä, Timothy C. Wang, Benoit Viollet, Gustavo Leone, Pekka Katajisto, Kari Vaahtomeri, Tomi P. Mäkelä