R-Spondin1 expands Paneth cells and prevents dysbiosis induced by graft-versus-host disease.
ABSTRACT: The intestinal microbial ecosystem is actively regulated by Paneth cell-derived antimicrobial peptides such as ?-defensins. Various disorders, including graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), disrupt Paneth cell functions, resulting in unfavorably altered intestinal microbiota (dysbiosis), which further accelerates the underlying diseases. Current strategies to restore the gut ecosystem are bacteriotherapy such as fecal microbiota transplantation and probiotics, and no physiological approach has been developed so far. In this study, we demonstrate a novel approach to restore gut microbial ecology by Wnt agonist R-Spondin1 (R-Spo1) or recombinant ?-defensin in mice. R-Spo1 stimulates intestinal stem cells to differentiate to Paneth cells and enhances luminal secretion of ?-defensins. Administration of R-Spo1 or recombinant ?-defensin prevents GVHD-mediated dysbiosis, thus representing a novel and physiological approach at modifying the gut ecosystem to restore intestinal homeostasis and host-microbiota cross talk toward therapeutic benefits.
Project description:Crohn's disease (CD) is an intractable inflammatory bowel disease, and dysbiosis, disruption of the intestinal microbiota, is associated with CD pathophysiology. ER stress, disruption of ER homeostasis in Paneth cells of the small intestine, and ?-defensin misfolding have been reported in CD patients. Because ?-defensins regulate the composition of the intestinal microbiota, their misfolding may cause dysbiosis. However, whether ER stress, ?-defensin misfolding, and dysbiosis contribute to the pathophysiology of CD remains unknown. Here, we show that abnormal Paneth cells with markers of ER stress appear in SAMP1/YitFc, a mouse model of CD, along with disease progression. Those mice secrete reduced-form ?-defensins that lack disulfide bonds into the intestinal lumen, a condition not found in normal mice, and reduced-form ?-defensins correlate with dysbiosis during disease progression. Moreover, administration of reduced-form ?-defensins to wild-type mice induces the dysbiosis. These data provide novel insights into CD pathogenesis induced by dysbiosis resulting from Paneth cell ?-defensin misfolding and they suggest further that Paneth cells may be potential therapeutic targets.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides are important effectors of innate immunity throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. In the mammalian small intestine, Paneth cell alpha-defensins are antimicrobial peptides that contribute to host defense against enteric pathogens. To determine if alpha-defensins also govern intestinal microbial ecology, we analyzed the intestinal microbiota of mice expressing a human alpha-defensin gene (DEFA5) and in mice lacking an enzyme required for the processing of mouse alpha-defensins. In these complementary models, we detected significant alpha-defensin-dependent changes in microbiota composition, but not in total bacterial numbers. Furthermore, DEFA5-expressing mice had striking losses of segmented filamentous bacteria and fewer interleukin 17 (IL-17)-producing lamina propria T cells. Our data ascribe a new homeostatic role to alpha-defensins in regulating the makeup of the commensal microbiota.
Project description:Increasing evidence supports the central role of Paneth cells in maintaining intestinal host-microbial homeostasis. However, the direct impact of host genotype on Paneth cell function remains unclear. Here, we characterize key differences in Paneth cell function and intestinal microbial composition in two widely utilized, genetically distinct mouse strains (C57BL/6 and 129/SvEv). In doing so, we demonstrate critical influences of host genotype on Paneth cell activity and the enteric microbiota.Paneth cell numbers were determined by flow cytometry. Antimicrobial peptide (AMP) expression was evaluated using quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), acid urea-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and mass spectrometry. Effects of mouse background on microbial composition were assessed by reciprocal colonization of germ-free mice from both background strains, followed by compositional analysis of resultant gut bacterial communities using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis and 16 S qPCR. Our results revealed that 129/SvEv mice possessed fewer Paneth cells and a divergent AMP profile relative to C57BL/6 counterparts. Novel 129/SvEv á-defensin peptides were identified, including Defa2/18v, Defa11, Defa16, and Defa18. Host genotype profoundly affected the global profile of the intestinal microbiota, while both source and host factors were found to influence specific bacterial groups. Interestingly, ileal ?-defensins from 129/SvEv mice displayed attenuated antimicrobial activity against pro-inflammatory E. coli strains, a bacterial species found to be expanded in these animals.This work establishes the important impact of host genotype on Paneth cell function and the composition of the intestinal microbiota. It further identifies specific AMP and microbial alterations in two commonly used inbred mouse strains that have varying susceptibilities to a variety of disorders, ranging from obesity to intestinal inflammation. This will be critical for future studies utilizing these murine backgrounds to study the effects of Paneth cells and the intestinal microbiota on host health and disease.
Project description:?-defensins are abundant antimicrobial peptides with broad, potent antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activities in vitro. Although their contribution to host defense against bacteria in vivo has been demonstrated, comparable studies of their antiviral activity in vivo are lacking. Using a mouse model deficient in activated ?-defensins in the small intestine, we show that Paneth cell ?-defensins protect mice from oral infection by a pathogenic virus, mouse adenovirus 1 (MAdV-1). Survival differences between mouse genotypes are lost upon parenteral MAdV-1 infection, strongly implicating a role for intestinal defenses in attenuating pathogenesis. Although differences in ?-defensin expression impact the composition of the ileal commensal bacterial population, depletion studies using broad-spectrum antibiotics revealed no effect of the microbiota on ?-defensin-dependent viral pathogenesis. Moreover, despite the sensitivity of MAdV-1 infection to ?-defensin neutralization in cell culture, we observed no barrier effect due to Paneth cell ?-defensin activation on the kinetics and magnitude of MAdV-1 dissemination to the brain. Rather, a protective neutralizing antibody response was delayed in the absence of ?-defensins. This effect was specific to oral viral infection, because antibody responses to parenteral or mucosal ovalbumin exposure were not affected by ?-defensin deficiency. Thus, ?-defensins play an important role as adjuvants in antiviral immunity in vivo that is distinct from their direct antiviral activity observed in cell culture.
Project description:Defensins protect human barriers from commensal and pathogenic microorganisms. Human ?-defensin 6 (HD-6) is produced exclusively by small intestinal Paneth cells but, in contrast to other antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) for HD-6, no direct antibacterial killing activity has been detected so far. Herein, we systematically tested how environmental factors, like pH and reducing conditions, affect antimicrobial activity of different defensins against anaerobic bacteria of the human intestinal microbiota. Remarkably, by mimicking the intestinal milieu we detected for the first time antibacterial activity of HD-6. Activity was observed against anaerobic gut commensals but not against some pathogenic strains. Antibiotic activity was attributable to the reduced peptide and independent of free cysteines or a conserved histidine residue. Furthermore, the oxidoreductase thioredoxin, which is also expressed in Paneth cells, is able to reduce a truncated physiological variant of HD-6. Ultrastructural analyses revealed that reduced HD-6 causes disintegration of cytoplasmic structures and alterations in the bacterial cell envelope, while maintaining extracellular net-like structures. We conclude that HD-6 is an antimicrobial peptide. Our data suggest two distinct antimicrobial mechanisms by one peptide: HD-6 kills specific microbes depending on the local environmental conditions, whereas known microbial trapping by extracellular net structures is independent of the reducing milieu.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides, in particular α-defensins expressed by Paneth cells, control microbiota composition and play a key role in intestinal barrier function and homeostasis. Dynamic conditions in the local microenvironment, such as pH and redox potential, significantly affect the antimicrobial spectrum. In contrast to oxidized peptides, some reduced defensins exhibit increased vulnerability to proteolytic degradation. In this report, we investigated the susceptibility of Paneth-cell-specific human α-defensin 5 (HD-5) and -6 (HD-6) to intestinal proteases using natural human duodenal fluid. We systematically assessed proteolytic degradation using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and identified several active defensin fragments capable of impacting bacterial growth of both commensal and pathogenic origins. Of note, incubation of mucus with HD-5 resulted in 255-8,000 new antimicrobial combinations. In contrast, HD-6 remained stable with consistent preserved nanonet formation. In vivo studies demonstrated proof of concept that a HD-5 fragment shifted microbiota composition (e.g., increases of Akkermansia sp.) without decreasing diversity. Our data support the concept that secretion of host peptides results in an environmentally dependent increase of antimicrobial defense by clustering in active peptide fragments. This complex clustering mechanism dramatically increases the host's ability to control pathogens and commensals. These findings broaden our understanding of host modulation of the microbiome as well as the complexity of human mucosal defense mechanisms, thus providing promising avenues to explore for drug development.
Project description:Multicellular organisms utilize a battery of extracellular and cellular mechanisms to defend against microbial infiltration. Among the armamentarium used by the small intestine to defend against microbial invasion are antimicrobial peptides called defensins. We previously have shown that gut barrier function is impaired following hemorrhagic shock, resulting in translocation of bacteria or endotoxin. Using a rat model, we examined the effect of hemorrhagic shock on alpha-defensin expression. We utilized the anchored reverse transcriptase PCR strategy to isolate a rat enteric defensin cDNA. The cDNA is 406 bases in length and encodes a putative prepro-enteric defensin that we have named rat defensin 5 (RD-5). RD-5 expression is restricted to the small intestine and is specifically localized by in situ hybridization to the Paneth cells. A 10-fold increase in its steady state levels was observed in the distal intestine immediately after the termination of shock. This is the first study to show that enteric defensins are inducible following injury. We suggest that enteric defensins may contribute to the complex and integrated barrier function of the intestinal mucosal surface.
Project description:The intestine not only plays a role in fundamental processes in digestion and nutrient absorption, but it also has a role in eliminating ingested pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Paneth cells, which reside at the base of small intestinal crypts, secrete ?-defensins and contribute to enteric innate immunity through potent microbicidal activities. However, the relationship between food factors and the innate immune functions of Paneth cells remains unknown. Here, we examined whether short-chain fatty acids and amino acids induce ?-defensin secretion from Paneth cells in the isolated crypts of small intestine. Butyric acid and leucine elicit ?-defensin secretion by Paneth cells, which kills Salmonella typhimurium. We further measured Paneth cell secretion in response to butyric acid and leucine using enteroids, a three-dimensional ex vivo culture system of small intestinal epithelial cells. Paneth cells expressed short-chain fatty acid receptors, Gpr41, Gpr43, and Gpr109a mRNAs for butyric acid, and amino acid transporter Slc7a8 mRNA for leucine. Antagonists of Gpr41 and Slc7a8 inhibited granule secretion by Paneth cells, indicating that these receptor and transporter on Paneth cells induce granule secretion. Our findings suggest that Paneth cells may contribute to intestinal homeostasis by secreting ?-defensins in response to certain nutrients or metabolites.
Project description:Metabolic syndrome (MetS), characterized as obesity, insulin resistance, and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD), is associated with vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency in epidemiological studies, while the underlying mechanism is poorly addressed. On the other hand, disorder of gut microbiota, namely dysbiosis, is known to cause MetS and NAFLD. It is also known that systemic inflammation blocks insulin signaling pathways, leading to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, which are the driving force for hepatic steatosis. Vitamin D receptor (VDR) is highly expressed in the ileum of the small intestine, which prompted us to test a hypothesis that vitamin D signaling may determine the enterotype of gut microbiota through regulating the intestinal interface. Here, we demonstrate that high-fat-diet feeding (HFD) is necessary but not sufficient, while additional vitamin D deficiency (VDD) as a second hit is needed, to induce robust insulin resistance and fatty liver. Under the two hits (HFD+VDD), the Paneth cell-specific alpha-defensins including ?-defensin 5 (DEFA5), MMP7 which activates the pro-defensins, as well as tight junction genes, and MUC2 are all suppressed in the ileum, resulting in mucosal collapse, increased gut permeability, dysbiosis, endotoxemia, systemic inflammation which underlie insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis. Moreover, under the vitamin D deficient high fat feeding (HFD+VDD), Helicobacter hepaticus, a known murine hepatic-pathogen, is substantially amplified in the ileum, while Akkermansia muciniphila, a beneficial symbiotic, is diminished. Likewise, the VD receptor (VDR) knockout mice exhibit similar phenotypes, showing down regulation of alpha-defensins and MMP7 in the ileum, increased Helicobacter hepaticus and suppressed Akkermansia muciniphila. Remarkably, oral administration of DEFA5 restored eubiosys, showing suppression of Helicobacter hepaticus and increase of Akkermansia muciniphila in association with resolving metabolic disorders and fatty liver in the HFD+VDD mice. An in vitro analysis showed that DEFA5 peptide could directly suppress Helicobacter hepaticus. Thus, the results of this study reveal critical roles of a vitamin D/VDR axis in optimal expression of defensins and tight junction genes in support of intestinal integrity and eubiosis to suppress NAFLD and metabolic disorders.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides are secreted by small intestinal Paneth cells as components of innate immunity. To investigate the role of alpha-defensins in enteric host defenses in nonhuman primates, alpha-defensin cDNAs were isolated, alpha-defensin peptides were purified from rhesus macaque small bowel, and the bactericidal activities of the peptides were measured. Six rhesus enteric alpha-defensin (RED) cDNAs, RED-1 to RED-6, were identified in a jejunum cDNA library; the deduced RED peptides exhibited extensive diversity relative to the primary structures of rhesus myeloid alpha-defensins. RED-4 was purified from monkey jejunum, and N-terminal peptide sequencing of putative RED-4 peptides identified two N termini, RTCYCRTGR. and TCYCRTGRC.; these corresponded to alternative N termini for the RED-4 molecules, as deduced from their molecular masses and RED cDNAs. In situ hybridization experiments localized RED mRNAs exclusively to small intestinal Paneth cells. Recombinant RED-1 to RED-4 were purified to homogeneity and shown to be microbicidal in the low micromolar range (</=10 micro g/ml) against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, with individual peptides exhibiting variable target cell specificities. Thus, compared to myeloid alpha-defensins from rhesus macaques, enteric alpha-defensin peptides are highly variable in both primary structure and activity. These studies should facilitate further analyses of the role of alpha-defensins in primate enteric immunity.