RHOA GTPase Controls YAP-Mediated EREG Signaling in Small Intestinal Stem Cell Maintenance.
ABSTRACT: RHOA, a founding member of the Rho GTPase family, is critical for actomyosin dynamics, polarity, and morphogenesis in response to developmental cues, mechanical stress, and inflammation. In murine small intestinal epithelium, inducible RHOA deletion causes a loss of epithelial polarity, with disrupted villi and crypt organization. In the intestinal crypts, RHOA deficiency results in reduced cell proliferation, increased apoptosis, and a loss of intestinal stem cells (ISCs) that mimic effects of radiation damage. Mechanistically, RHOA loss reduces YAP signaling of the Hippo pathway and affects YAP effector epiregulin (EREG) expression in the crypts. Expression of an active YAP (S112A) mutant rescues ISC marker expression, ISC regeneration, and ISC-associated Wnt signaling, but not defective epithelial polarity, in RhoA knockout mice, implicating YAP in RHOA-regulated ISC function. EREG treatment or active ?-catenin Catnblox(ex3) mutant expression rescues the RhoA KO ISC phenotypes. Thus, RHOA controls YAP-EREG signaling to regulate intestinal homeostasis and ISC regeneration.
Project description:Epithelial polarity is controlled by a polarity machinery including the Rho GTPase CDC42 and Scribble/PAR. By using intestinal stem cell (ISC)-specific deletion of CDC42 in Olfm4-IRES-eGFPCreERT2;CDC42flox/flox mice, we found that ISC-initiated CDC42 loss caused a drastic hyper-proliferation of transit amplifying (TA) cells and disrupted epithelial polarity. CDC42-null crypts displayed expanded TA cell and diminished ISC populations, accompanied by elevated hippo signaling via YAP/TAZ - Ereg and mTOR activation, independent from canonical Wnt signaling. YAP/TAZ conditional knockout restored the balance of ISC/TA cell populations and crypt proliferation but did not rescue the polarity in CDC42-null small intestine. mTOR or EGFR inhibitor treatment of CDC42 KO mice exhibited similar rescuing effects without affecting YAP/TAZ signaling. Inducible ablation of Scribble in intestinal epithelial cells mimics that of CDC42 KO defects including crypt hyperplasia and hippo signaling activation. Mammalian epithelial polarity regulates ISC and TA cell fate and proliferation via a hippo-Ereg-mTOR cascade. Overall design: 1 control, 1 mutant, 1 rescue
Project description:The Hippo signaling pathway converges on YAP to regulate growth, differentiation, and regeneration. Previous studies with overexpressed proteins have shown that YAP is phosphorylated by its upstream kinase, Lats1/2, on multiple sites, including an evolutionarily conserved 14-3-3-binding site whose phosphorylation is believed to inhibit YAP by excluding it from the nucleus. Indeed, nuclear localization of YAP or decreased YAP phosphorylation at this site (S168 in Drosophila, S127 in humans, and S112 in mice) is widely used in current literature as a surrogate of YAP activation even though the physiological importance of this phosphorylation event in regulating endogenous YAP activity has not been defined. Here we address this question by introducing a Yap(S112A) knock-in mutation in the endogenous Yap locus. The Yap(S112A) mice are surprisingly normal despite nuclear localization of the mutant YAP protein in vivo and profound defects in cytoplasmic translocation in vitro. Interestingly, the mutant Yap(S112A) mice show a compensatory decrease in YAP protein levels due to increased phosphorylation at a mammalian-specific phosphodegron site on YAP. These findings reveal a robust homeostatic mechanism that maintains physiological levels of YAP activity and caution against the assumptive use of YAP localization alone as a surrogate of YAP activity.
Project description:Gastric intestinal metaplasia (IM) is a highly prevalent preneoplastic lesion; however, the molecular mechanisms regulating its development remain unclear. We have previously shown that a population of cells expressing the intestinal stem cell (ISC) marker LGR5 increases remarkably in IM. In this study, we further investigated the molecular characteristics of these LGR5+ cells in IM by examining the expression profile of several ISC markers. Notably, we found that ISC markers-including OLFM4 and EPHB2-are positively associated with the CDX2 expression in non-tumorous gastric tissues. This finding was confirmed in stomach lesions with or without metaplasia, which demonstrated that OLFM4 and EPHB2 expression gradually increased with metaplastic progression. Moreover, RNA in situ hybridization revealed that LGR5+ cells coexpress several ISC markers and remained confined to the base of metaplastic glands, reminiscent to that of normal intestinal crypts, whereas those in normal antral glands expressed none of these markers. Furthermore, a large number of ISC marker-expressing cells were diffusely distributed in gastric adenomas, suggesting that these markers may facilitate gastric tumorigenesis. In addition, Barrett's esophagus (BE)-which is histologically similar to intestinal metaplasia-exhibited a similar distribution of ISC markers, indicating the presence of a stem cell population with intestinal differentiation potential. In conclusion, we identified that LGR5+ cells in gastric IM and BE coexpress ISC markers, and exhibit the same expression profile as those found in normal intestinal crypts. Taken together, these results implicate an intestinal-like stem cell population in the pathogenesis of IM, and provide an important basis for understanding the development and maintenance of this disease.
Project description:During radiologic or nuclear accidents, high-dose ionizing radiation (IR) can cause gastrointestinal syndrome (GIS), a deadly disorder that urgently needs effective therapy. Unfortunately, current treatments based on natural products and antioxidants have shown very limited effects in alleviating deadly GIS. Reserve intestinal stem cells (ISCs) and secretory progenitor cells are both reported to replenish damaged cells and contribute to crypt regeneration. However, the suppressed ?-catenin/c-MYC axis within these slow-cycling cells leads to limited regenerative response to restore intestinal integrity during fatal accidental injury. Current study demonstrates that post-IR overexpression of TIGAR, a critical downstream target of c-MYC in mouse intestine, mounts a hyperplastic response in Bmi1-creERT+ reserve ISCs, and thus rescues mice from lethal IR exposure. Critically, by eliminating damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) yet retaining the proliferative ROS signals, TIGAR-overexpression enhances the activity of activator protein 1, which is indispensable for initiating reserve-ISC division after lethal radiation. In addition, it is identified that TIGAR-induction exclusively gears the Lgr5- subpopulation of reserve ISCs to regenerate crypts, and intestinal TIGAR-overexpression displays equivalent intestinal reconstruction to reserve-ISC-restricted TIGAR-induction. Our findings imply that precise administrations toward Lgr5- reserve ISCs are promising strategies for unpredictable lethal injury, and TIGAR can be employed as a therapeutic target for unexpected radiation-induced GIS.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Host genetic factors affect the immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection as well as the progression of the disease. Epiregulin (EREG) belongs to the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family, which binds to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) to regulate the immune response of the host during infections. Our study aimed to compare EREG levels in tuberculosis (TB) patients and healthy controls and assess whether polymorphisms in EREG increase the risk of TB. METHODS:We used ELISA to determine the plasma EREG level from 30 healthy controls and 50 tuberculosis patients. By evaluating the EREG gene from 624?TB patients and 600 healthy controls, we determined the allelic and genotypic frequencies for association with susceptibility to TB infections in this group. RESULTS:This paper shows that the pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) and extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB) groups showed a significantly higher plasma EREG level (1014?±?733.9?pg/ml, 700.2?±?676.6?pg/ml, respectively) than the healthy controls (277?±?105.4?pg/ml). The rs2367707 polymorphism was associated with a higher risk of PTB and EPTB (P?=?0.00051, P?=?0.0012). Analyses of haplotype frequencies found that people with the haplotype CACAT had a higher risk of PTB and EPTB (P?=?0.00031, OR?=?1.43; P?=?0.000053, OR?=?1.65). Moreover, the rs6446993 polymorphism of the EREG gene was found to be associated with EPTB (P?=?0.00087, OR?=?1.54; 95% CI?=?1.23-1.94). CONCLUSIONS:Compared to that of healthy controls, the level of EREG in the plasma of TB patients increased significantly. Based on these data, we demonstrated that EREG polymorphisms are genetic factors for susceptibility to TB and various forms of TB.
Project description:Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) is a cytokine essential for maintaining pluripotency of mouse embryonic stem cells. However, its role in adult intestinal stem cells (ISCs) is unclear. The adult intestinal epithelium has a high self-renewal rate driven by ISCs in crypts. Here, we find that LIF is present in the ISC niche in crypts and critical for the function of ISCs in maintaining the intestinal epithelial homeostasis and regeneration. Mechanistically, LIF maintains ?-catenin activity through the AKT/GSK3? signaling to regulate ISC functions. LIF deficiency in mice impairs the renewal of the intestinal epithelium under the physiological condition. Further, LIF deficiency in mice impairs the regeneration of intestinal epithelium in response to radiation and shortens the lifespan of mice after high doses of radiation due to gastrointestinal (GI) syndrome, which can be rescued by administering recombinant LIF (rLIF). Importantly, LIF exhibits a radioprotective role in wild-type (WT) mice by protecting mice from lethal radiation-induced GI syndrome; administering rLIF promotes intestinal epithelial regeneration and prolongs survival in WT mice after radiation. These results reveal a previously unidentified and a crucial role of LIF in ensuring ISC function, promoting regeneration of the intestinal epithelium in response to radiation and protecting against radiation-induced GI syndrome.
Project description:A remarkable feature of regenerative processes is their ability to halt proliferation once an organ's structure has been restored. The Wnt signalling pathway is the major driving force for homeostatic self-renewal and regeneration in the mammalian intestine. However, the mechanisms that counterbalance Wnt-driven proliferation are poorly understood. Here we demonstrate in mice and humans that yes-associated protein 1 (YAP; also known as YAP1)--a protein known for its powerful growth-inducing and oncogenic properties--has an unexpected growth-suppressive function, restricting Wnt signals during intestinal regeneration. Transgenic expression of YAP reduces Wnt target gene expression and results in the rapid loss of intestinal crypts. In addition, loss of YAP results in Wnt hypersensitivity during regeneration, leading to hyperplasia, expansion of intestinal stem cells and niche cells, and formation of ectopic crypts and microadenomas. We find that cytoplasmic YAP restricts elevated Wnt signalling independently of the AXIN-APC-GSK-3? complex partly by limiting the activity of dishevelled (DVL). DVL signals in the nucleus of intestinal stem cells, and its forced expression leads to enhanced Wnt signalling in crypts. YAP dampens Wnt signals by restricting DVL nuclear translocation during regenerative growth. Finally, we provide evidence that YAP is silenced in a subset of highly aggressive and undifferentiated human colorectal carcinomas, and that its expression can restrict the growth of colorectal carcinoma xenografts. Collectively, our work describes a novel mechanistic paradigm for how proliferative signals are counterbalanced in regenerating tissues. Additionally, our findings have important implications for the targeting of YAP in human malignancies.
Project description:Intestinal epithelial stem cells (ISCs) are the focus of recent intense study. Current in vitro models rely on supplementation with the Wnt agonist R-spondin1 to support robust growth, ISC self-renewal, and differentiation. Intestinal subepithelial myofibroblasts (ISEMFs) are important supportive cells within the ISC niche. We hypothesized that co-culture with ISEMF enhances the growth of ISCs in vitro and allows for their successful in vivo implantation and engraftment. ISC-containing small intestinal crypts, FACS-sorted single ISCs, and ISEMFs were procured from C57BL/6 mice. Crypts and single ISCs were grown in vitro into enteroids, in the presence or absence of ISEMFs. ISEMFs enhanced the growth of intestinal epithelium in vitro in a proximity-dependent fashion, with co-cultures giving rise to larger enteroids than monocultures. Co-culture of ISCs with supportive ISEMFs relinquished the requirement of exogenous R-spondin1 to sustain long-term growth and differentiation of ISCs. Mono- and co-cultures were implanted subcutaneously in syngeneic mice. Co-culture with ISEMFs proved necessary for successful in vivo engraftment and proliferation of enteroids; implants without ISEMFs did not survive. ISEMF whole transcriptome sequencing and qPCR demonstrated high expression of specific R-spondins, well-described Wnt agonists that supports ISC growth. Specific non-supportive ISEMF populations had reduced expression of R-spondins. The addition of ISEMFs in intestinal epithelial culture therefore recapitulates a critical element of the intestinal stem cell niche and allows for its experimental interrogation and biodesign-driven manipulation.
Project description:Although host genetics influences susceptibility to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the human genes regulating pathogenesis remain largely unknown. We used M. tuberculosis-stimulated macrophage gene expression profiling in conjunction with a case-control genetic association study to discover epiregulin (EREG), as a novel candidate tuberculosis (TB) susceptibility gene. Using a genome-wide association study dataset, we found that among the 21 genes with greater than 50-fold induction, EREG had the most polymorphisms associated with TB. We genotyped haplotype-tagging polymorphisms in discovery (N = 337 cases, N = 380 controls) and validation (N = 332 cases) datasets and an EREG polymorphism (rs7675690) was associated with susceptibility to TB (genotypic comparison; corrected P = 0.00007). rs7675690 was also associated more strongly with infections caused by the Beijing lineage of M. tuberculosis when compared with non-Beijing strains (controls vs Beijing, OR 7.81, P = 8.7 × 10(-5); non-Beijing, OR 3.13, P = 0.074). Furthermore, EREG expression was induced in monocytes and peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated with M. tuberculosis as well as TLR4 and TLR2/1/6 ligands. In murine macrophages, EREG expression induced by M. tuberculosis was MYD88- and TLR2-dependent. Together, these data provide the first evidence for an important role for EREG as a susceptibility gene for human TB.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Reduced Paneth cell (PC) numbers are observed in inflammatory bowel diseases and impaired PC function contributes to the ileal pathogenesis of Crohn's disease (CD). PCs reside in proximity to Lgr5+ intestinal stem cells (ISC) and mitochondria are critical for ISC-renewal and differentiation. Here, we characterise ISC and PC appearance under inflammatory conditions and describe the role of mitochondrial function for ISC niche-maintenance. DESIGN:Ileal tissue samples from patients with CD, mouse models for mitochondrial dysfunction (Hsp60?/?ISC) and CD-like ileitis (TNF?ARE), and intestinal organoids were used to characterise PCs and ISCs in relation to mitochondrial function. RESULTS:In patients with CD and TNF?ARE mice, inflammation correlated with reduced numbers of Lysozyme-positive granules in PCs and decreased Lgr5 expression in crypt regions. Disease-associated changes in PC and ISC appearance persisted in non-inflamed tissue regions of patients with CD and predicted the risk of disease recurrence after surgical resection. ISC-specific deletion of Hsp60 and inhibition of mitochondrial respiration linked mitochondrial function to the aberrant PC phenotype. Consistent with reduced stemness in vivo, crypts from inflamed TNF?ARE mice fail to grow into organoids ex vivo. Dichloroacetate-mediated inhibition of glycolysis, forcing cells to shift to mitochondrial respiration, improved ISC niche function and rescued the ability of TNF?ARE mice-derived crypts to form organoids. CONCLUSION:We provide evidence that inflammation-associated mitochondrial dysfunction in the intestinal epithelium triggers a metabolic imbalance, causing reduced stemness and acquisition of a dysfunctional PC phenotype. Blocking glycolysis might be a novel drug target to antagonise PC dysfunction in the pathogenesis of CD.