Single-Cell Transcript Profiles Reveal Multilineage Priming in Early Progenitors Derived from Lgr5(+) Intestinal Stem Cells.
ABSTRACT: Lgr5(+) intestinal stem cells (ISCs) drive epithelial self-renewal, and their immediate progeny-intestinal bipotential progenitors-produce absorptive and secretory lineages via lateral inhibition. To define features of early transit from the ISC compartment, we used a microfluidics approach to measure selected stem- and lineage-specific transcripts in single Lgr5(+) cells. We identified two distinct cell populations, one that expresses known ISC markers and a second, abundant population that simultaneously expresses markers of stem and mature absorptive and secretory cells. Single-molecule mRNA in situ hybridization and immunofluorescence verified expression of lineage-restricted genes in a subset of Lgr5(+) cells in vivo. Transcriptional network analysis revealed that one group of Lgr5(+) cells arises from the other and displays characteristics expected of bipotential progenitors, including activation of Notch ligand and cell-cycle-inhibitor genes. These findings define the earliest steps in ISC differentiation and reveal multilineage gene priming as a fundamental property of the process.
Project description:Replicating Lgr5+ stem cells and quiescent Bmi1+ cells behave as intestinal stem cells (ISCs) in vivo. Disrupting Lgr5+ ISCs triggers epithelial renewal from Bmi1+ cells, from secretory or absorptive progenitors, and from Paneth cell precursors, revealing a high degree of plasticity within intestinal crypts. Here, we show that GFP+ cells from Bmi1GFP mice are preterminal enteroendocrine cells and we identify CD69+CD274+ cells as related goblet cell precursors. Upon loss of native Lgr5+ ISCs, both populations revert toward an Lgr5+ cell identity. While active histone marks are distributed similarly between Lgr5+ ISCs and progenitors of both major lineages, thousands of cis elements that control expression of lineage-restricted genes are selectively open in secretory cells. This accessibility signature dynamically converts to that of Lgr5+ ISCs during crypt regeneration. Beyond establishing the nature of Bmi1GFP+ cells, these findings reveal how chromatin status underlies intestinal cell diversity and dedifferentiation to restore ISC function and intestinal homeostasis.
Project description:Cells differentiate when transcription factors bind accessible cis-regulatory elements to establish specific gene expression programs. In differentiating embryonic stem cells, chromatin at lineage-restricted genes becomes sequentially accessible, probably by means of 'pioneer' transcription factor activity, but tissues may use other strategies in vivo. Lateral inhibition is a pervasive process in which one cell forces a different identity on its neighbours, and it is unclear how chromatin in equipotent progenitors undergoing lateral inhibition quickly enables distinct, transiently reversible cell fates. Here we report the chromatin and transcriptional underpinnings of differentiation in mouse small intestine crypts, where notch signalling mediates lateral inhibition to assign progenitor cells into absorptive or secretory lineages. Transcript profiles in isolated LGR5(+) intestinal stem cells and secretory and absorptive progenitors indicated that each cell population was distinct and the progenitors specified. Nevertheless, secretory and absorptive progenitors showed comparable levels of H3K4me2 and H3K27ac histone marks and DNase I hypersensitivity--signifying accessible, permissive chromatin-at most of the same cis-elements. Enhancers acting uniquely in progenitors were well demarcated in LGR5(+) intestinal stem cells, revealing early priming of chromatin for divergent transcriptional programs, and retained active marks well after lineages were specified. On this chromatin background, ATOH1, a secretory-specific transcription factor, controls lateral inhibition through delta-like notch ligand genes and also drives the expression of numerous secretory lineage genes. Depletion of ATOH1 from specified secretory cells converted them into functional enterocytes, indicating prolonged responsiveness of marked enhancers to the presence or absence of a key transcription factor. Thus, lateral inhibition and intestinal crypt lineage plasticity involve interaction of a lineage-restricted transcription factor with broadly permissive chromatin established in multipotent stem cells.
Project description:Several cell populations have been reported to possess intestinal stem cell (ISC) activity during homeostasis and injury-induced regeneration. Here, we explored inter-relationships between putative mouse ISC populations by comparative RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq). The transcriptomes of multiple cycling ISC populations closely resembled Lgr5+ ISCs, the most well-defined ISC pool, but Bmi1-GFP+ cells were distinct and enriched for enteroendocrine (EE) markers, including Prox1. Prox1-GFP+ cells exhibited sustained clonogenic growth in vitro, and lineage-tracing of Prox1+ cells revealed long-lived clones during homeostasis and after radiation-induced injury in vivo. Single-cell mRNA-seq revealed two subsets of Prox1-GFP+ cells, one of which resembled mature EE cells while the other displayed low-level EE gene expression but co-expressed tuft cell markers, Lgr5 and Ascl2, reminiscent of label-retaining secretory progenitors. Our data suggest that the EE lineage, including mature EE cells, comprises a reservoir of homeostatic and injury-inducible ISCs, extending our understanding of cellular plasticity and stemness.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:The intestinal epithelium is maintained by long-lived intestinal stem cells (ISCs) that reside near the crypt base. Above the ISC zone, there are short-lived progenitors that normally give rise to lineage-specific differentiated cell types but can dedifferentiate into ISCs in certain circumstances. However, the role of epithelial dedifferentiation in cancer development has not been fully elucidated. METHODS:We performed studies with Bhlha15-CreERT, Lgr5-DTR-GFP, Apcflox/flox, LSL-Notch (IC), and R26-reporter strains of mice. Some mice were given diphtheria toxin to ablate Lgr5-positive cells, were irradiated, or were given 5-fluorouracil, hydroxyurea, doxorubicin, or dextran sodium sulfate to induce intestinal or colonic tissue injury. In intestinal tissues, we analyzed the fate of progeny that expressed Bhlha15. We used microarrays and reverse-transcription PCR to analyze gene expression patterns in healthy and injured intestinal tissues and in tumors. We analyzed gene expression patterns in human colorectal tumors using The Cancer Genome Atlas data set. RESULTS:Bhlha15 identified Paneth cells and short-lived secretory precursors (including pre-Paneth label-retaining cells) located just above the ISC zone in the intestinal epithelium. Bhlha15+ cells had no plasticity after loss of Lgr5-positive cells or irradiation. However, Bhlha15+ secretory precursors started to supply the enterocyte lineage after doxorubicin-induced epithelial injury in a Notch-dependent manner. Sustained activation of Notch converts Bhlha15+ secretory precursors to long-lived enterocyte progenitors. Administration of doxorubicin and expression of an activated form of Notch resulted in a gene expression pattern associated with enterocyte progenitors, whereas only sustained activation of Notch altered gene expression patterns in Bhlha15+ precursors toward those of ISCs. Bhlha15+ enterocyte progenitors with sustained activation of Notch formed intestinal tumors with serrated features in mice with disruption of Apc. In the colon, Bhlha15 marked secretory precursors that became stem-like, cancer-initiating cells after dextran sodium sulfate-induced injury, via activation of Src and YAP signaling. In analyses of human colorectal tumors, we associated activation of Notch with chromosome instability-type tumors with serrated features in the left colon. CONCLUSIONS:In mice, we found that short-lived precursors can undergo permanent reprogramming by activation of Notch and YAP signaling. These cells could mediate tumor formation in addition to traditional ISCs.
Project description:In the development of the mammalian intestine, Notch and Wnt/?-catenin signals control stem cell maintenance and their differentiation into absorptive and secretory cells. Mechanisms that regulate differentiation of progenitors into the three secretory lineages, goblet, paneth, or enteroendocrine cells, are not fully understood. Using conditional mutagenesis in mice, we observed that Shp2-mediated MAPK signaling determines the choice between paneth and goblet cell fates and also affects stem cells, which express the leucine-rich repeat-containing receptor 5 (Lgr5). Ablation of the tyrosine phosphatase Shp2 in the intestinal epithelium reduced MAPK signaling and led to a reduction of goblet cells while promoting paneth cell development. Conversely, conditional mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1 (Mek1) activation rescued the Shp2 phenotype, promoted goblet cell and inhibited paneth cell generation. The Shp2 mutation also expanded Lgr5+ stem cell niches, which could be restricted by activated Mek1 signaling. Changes of Lgr5+ stem cell quantities were accompanied by alterations of paneth cells, indicating that Shp2/MAPK signaling might affect stem cell niches directly or via paneth cells. Remarkably, inhibition of MAPK signaling in intestinal organoids and cultured cells changed the relative abundance of Tcf4 isoforms and by this, promoted Wnt/?-catenin activity. The data thus show that Shp2-mediated MAPK signaling controls the choice between goblet and paneth cell fates by regulating Wnt/?-catenin activity.
Project description:The intestinal epithelium acts as a barrier between the organism and its microenvironment, including the gut microbiota. It is the most rapidly regenerating tissue in the human body thanks to a pool of intestinal stem cells (ISCs) expressing Lgr5 The intestinal epithelium has to cope with continuous stress linked to its digestive and barrier functions. Epithelial repair is crucial to maintain its integrity, and Lgr5-positive intestinal stem cell (Lgr5+ISC) resilience following cytotoxic stresses is central to this repair stage. We show here that autophagy, a pathway allowing the lysosomal degradation of intracellular components, plays a crucial role in the maintenance and genetic integrity of Lgr5+ISC under physiological and stress conditions. Using conditional mice models lacking the autophagy gene Atg7 specifically in all intestinal epithelial cells or in Lgr5+ISC, we show that loss of Atg7 induces the p53-mediated apoptosis of Lgr5+ISC. Mechanistically, this is due to increasing oxidative stress, alterations to interactions with the microbiota, and defective DNA repair. Following irradiation, we show that Lgr5+ISC repair DNA damage more efficiently than their progenitors and that this protection is Atg7 dependent. Accordingly, we found that the stimulation of autophagy on fasting protects Lgr5+ISC against DNA damage and cell death mediated by oxaliplatin and doxorubicin treatments. Finally, p53 deletion prevents the death of Atg7-deficient Lgr5+ISC but promotes genetic instability and tumor formation. Altogether, our findings provide insights into the mechanisms underlying maintenance and integrity of ISC and highlight the key functions of Atg7 and p53.
Project description:Absorptive and secretory cells of the small intestine are derived from a single population of Lgr5-expressing stem cells. While key genetic pathways required for differentiation into specific lineages have been defined, epigenetic programs contributing to this process remain poorly characterized. Members of the BET family of chromatin adaptors contain tandem bromodomains that mediate binding to acetylated lysines on target proteins to regulate gene expression. In this study, we demonstrate that mice treated with a small molecule inhibitor of BET bromodomains, CPI203, exhibit greater than 90% decrease in tuft and enteroendocrine cells in both crypts and villi of the small intestine, with no changes observed in goblet or Paneth cells. BET bromodomain inhibition did not alter the abundance of Lgr5-expressing stem cells in crypts, but rather exerted its effects on intermediate progenitors, in part through regulation of Ngn3 expression. When BET bromodomain inhibition was combined with the chemotherapeutic gemcitabine, pervasive apoptosis was observed in intestinal crypts, revealing an important role for BET bromodomain activity in intestinal homeostasis. Pharmacological targeting of BET bromodomains defines a novel pathway required for tuft and enteroendocrine differentiation and provides an important tool to further dissect the progression from stem cell to terminally differentiated secretory cell.
Project description:Perturbed intestinal epithelial homeostasis demonstrated as decreased Lgr5+ intestinal stem cells (Lgr5 ISCs) and increased secretory lineages were observed in our study where Lkb1 was specfically deleted in Lgr5 ISCs using Lgr5-EGFP-creERT2 (Tamoxifen) deletor. To gain mechanistic insight how Lkb1 maintains intestinal epithelial stem cell homeostasis, Lkb1 deficient ISCs (Lgr5-high cells) and progenitors (Lgr5-low cells) are isolated by flow cytometry and profiled by RNA sequencing to compare with controls (Lkb1 wild type ISCs and progenitors).
Project description:Lawsonia intracellularis is an obligate intracellular bacterial pathogen that causes proliferative enteropathy (PE) in pigs. L. intracellularis infection causes extensive intestinal crypt cell proliferation and inhibits secretory and absorptive cell differentiation. However, the affected host upstream cellular pathways leading to PE are still unknown. ?-catenin/Wnt signalling is essential in maintaining intestinal stem cell (ISC) proliferation and self-renewal capacity, while Notch signalling governs differentiation of secretory and absorptive lineage specification. Therefore, in this report we used immunofluorescence (IF) and quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (RTqPCR) to examine ?-catenin/Wnt and Notch-1 signalling levels in uninfected and L. intracellularis infected pig ileums at 3, 7, 14, 21 and 28 days post challenge (dpc). We found that while the significant increase in Ki67+ nuclei in crypts at the peak of L. intracellularis infection suggested enhanced cell proliferation, the expression of c-MYC and ASCL2, promoters of cell growth and ISC proliferation respectively, was down-regulated. Peak infection also coincided with enhanced cytosolic and membrane-associated ?-catenin staining and induction of AXIN2 and SOX9 transcripts, both encoding negative regulators of ?-catenin/Wnt signalling and suggesting a potential alteration to ?-catenin/Wnt signalling levels, with differential regulation of the expression of its target genes. We found that induction of HES1 and OLFM4 and the down-regulation of ATOH1 transcript levels was consistent with the increased Notch-1 signalling in crypts at the peak of infection. Interestingly, the significant down-regulation of ATOH1 transcript levels coincided with the depletion of MUC2 expression at 14 dpc, consistent with the role of ATOH1 in promoting goblet cell maturation. The lack of significant change to LGR5 transcript levels at the peak of infection suggested that the crypt hyperplasia was not due to the expansion of ISC population. Overall, simultaneous induction of Notch-1 signalling and the attenuation of ?-catenin/Wnt pathway appear to be associated with the inhibition of goblet cell maturation and enhanced crypt cell proliferation at the peak of L. intracellularis infection. Moreover, the apparent differential regulation of apoptosis between crypt and lumen cells together with the strong induction of Notch-1 signalling and the enhanced SOX9 expression along crypts 14 dpc suggest an expansion of actively dividing transit amplifying and/or absorptive progenitor cells and provide a potential basis for understanding the development and maintenance of PE.
Project description:Cycling Lgr5+ stem cells fuel the rapid turnover of the adult intestinal epithelium. The existence of quiescent Lgr5+ cells has been reported, while an alternative quiescent stem cell population is believed to reside at crypt position +4. Here, we generated a novel Ki67RFP knock-in allele that identifies dividing cells. Using Lgr5-GFP;Ki67RFP mice, we isolated crypt stem and progenitor cells with distinct Wnt signaling levels and cell cycle features and generated their molecular signature using microarrays. Stem cell potential of these populations was further characterized using the intestinal organoid culture. We found that Lgr5high stem cells are continuously in cell cycle, while a fraction of Lgr5low progenitors that reside predominantly at +4 position exit the cell cycle. Unlike fast dividing CBCs, Lgr5low Ki67- cells have lost their ability to initiate organoid cultures, are enriched in secretory differentiation factors, and resemble the Dll1 secretory precursors and the label-retaining cells of Winton and colleagues. Our findings support the cycling stem cell hypothesis and highlight the cell cycle heterogeneity of early progenitors during lineage commitment.