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1.  Transmigrated neutrophils in the intestinal lumen engage ICAM 1 to regulate the epithelial barrier and neutrophil recruitment 
Mucosal immunology  2013;7(4):905-915.
Neutrophil (PMN) transepithelial migration (TEM) and accumulation in luminal spaces is a hallmark of mucosal inflammation. TEM has been extensively modeled, however the functional consequences and molecular basis of PMN interactions with luminal epithelial ligands are not clear. Here we report that cytokine-induced expression of a PMN ligand, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), exclusively on the luminal (apical) membrane of the intestinal epithelium results in accumulation and enhanced motility of transmigrated PMN on the apical epithelial surface. Using complementary in-vitro and in-vivo approaches we demonstrate that ligation of epithelial ICAM-1 by PMN or with specific antibodies results in myosin light chain kinase (MLCK)-dependent increases in epithelial permeability that are associated with enhanced PMN TEM. Effects of ICAM-1 ligation on epithelial permeability and PMN migration in-vivo were blocked after intraluminal addition of peptides derived from the cytoplasmic domain of ICAM-1. These findings provide new evidence for functional interactions between PMN and epithelial cells after migration into the intestinal lumen. While such interactions may aid in clearance of invading microorganisms by promoting PMN recruitment, engagement of ICAM-1 under pathologic conditions would increase accumulation of epithelial-associated PMN, thus contributing to mucosal injury as observed in conditions including ulcerative colitis.
PMCID: PMC4062590  PMID: 24345805
2.  IFNγ-induced suppression of β-catenin signaling: evidence for roles of Akt and 14.3.3ζ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(19):2894-2904.
Nuclear Akt1 phosphorylates 14.3.3ζ at serine 58 to inhibit β-catenin transactivation. The results outline a dual function of Akt1, which suppresses intestinal epithelial cell proliferation during intestinal inflammation.
The proinflammatory cytokine interferon γ (IFNγ ) influences intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) homeostasis in a biphasic manner by acutely stimulating proliferation that is followed by sustained inhibition of proliferation despite continued mucosal injury. β-Catenin activation has been classically associated with increased IEC proliferation. However, we observed that IFNγ inhibits IEC proliferation despite sustained activation of Akt/β-catenin signaling. Here we show that inhibition of Akt/β-catenin–mediated cell proliferation by IFNγ is associated with the formation of a protein complex containing phosphorylated β-catenin 552 (pβ-cat552) and 14.3.3ζ. Akt1 served as a bimodal switch that promotes or inhibits β-catenin transactivation in response to IFNγ stimulation. IFNγ initially promotes β-catenin transactivation through Akt-dependent C-terminal phosphorylation of β-catenin to promote its association with 14.3.3ζ. Augmented β-catenin transactivation leads to increased Akt1 protein levels, and active Akt1 accumulates in the nucleus, where it phosphorylates 14.3.3ζ to translocate 14.3.3ζ/β-catenin from the nucleus, thereby inhibiting β-catenin transactivation and IEC proliferation. These results outline a dual function of Akt1 that suppresses IEC proliferation during intestinal inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4230580  PMID: 25079689
3.  Proinflammatory cytokine-induced tight junction remodeling through dynamic self-assembly of claudins 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(18):2710-2719.
Epithelial barriers are vital components of the innate immune system. This barrier is provided by tight junctions and compromised by proinflammatory cytokine signaling. Study of claudin 4 live-cell protein dynamics shows that tight junctions are self-assembling systems that undergo remodeling through heterotypic claudin incompatibility.
Tight junctions (TJs) are dynamic, multiprotein intercellular adhesive contacts that provide a vital barrier function in epithelial tissues. TJs are remodeled during physiological development and pathological mucosal inflammation, and differential expression of the claudin family of TJ proteins determines epithelial barrier properties. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in TJ remodeling are incompletely understood. Using acGFP-claudin 4 as a biosensor of TJ remodeling, we observed increased claudin 4 fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) dynamics in response to inflammatory cytokines. Interferon γ and tumor necrosis factor α increased the proportion of mobile claudin 4 in the TJ. Up-regulation of claudin 4 protein rescued these mobility defects and cytokine-induced barrier compromise. Furthermore, claudins 2 and 4 have reciprocal effects on epithelial barrier function, exhibit differential FRAP dynamics, and compete for residency within the TJ. These findings establish a model of TJs as self-assembling systems that undergo remodeling in response to proinflammatory cytokines through a mechanism of heterotypic claudin-binding incompatibility.
PMCID: PMC4161507  PMID: 25031428
4.  Redox signaling regulates commensal mediated mucosal homeostasis and restitution and requires formyl peptide receptor 1 (FPR1) 
Mucosal immunology  2013;7(3):645-655.
The mammalian gut microbiota is essential for normal intestinal development, renewal and repair. Injury to the intestinal mucosa can occur with infection, surgical trauma, and in idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease. Repair of mucosal injury, termed restitution, as well as restoration of intestinal homeostasis involves induced and coordinated proliferation and migration of intestinal epithelial cells. N-formyl peptide receptors (FPRs) are widely expressed pattern recognition receptors that can specifically bind and induce responses to host derived and bacterial peptides and small molecules. Here we report that specific members of the gut microbiota stimulate FPR1 on intestinal epithelial cells to generate reactive oxygen species via enterocyte NADPH oxidase NOX1, causing rapid phosphorylation of Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) and ERK MAPK. These events stimulate migration and proliferation of enterocytes adjacent to colonic wounds. Together, these findings identify a novel role of FPR1 as pattern recognition receptors for perceiving the enteric microbiota that promotes repair of mucosal wounds via generation of ROS from the enterocyte NOX1.
PMCID: PMC3999246  PMID: 24192910
Epithelia; Formyl peptide receptors; microbiota; lactobacilli; wound healing
5.  Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-neuropeptide Y (NPY) crosstalk regulates inflammation, epithelial barrier functions and colonic motility 
Inflammatory bowel diseases  2013;19(12):2535-2546.
Neuro-immune interactions play a significant role in regulating the severity of inflammation. Our previous work demonstrated that neuropeptide Y (NPY) is up regulated in the enteric nervous system (ENS) during murine colitis, and that NPY knockout mice exhibit reduced inflammation. Here we investigated if NPY expression during inflammation is induced by tumor necrosis factor (TNF), the main pro-inflammatory cytokine.
Utilizing primary enteric neurons and colon explant cultures from WT and NPY knockout (NPY−/−) mice, we determined if NPY knockdown modulates TNF release and epithelial permeability. Further we assessed if NPY expression is inducible by TNF in enteric neuronal cells and mouse model of experimental colitis, utilizing the TNF inhibitors-etanercept (blocks transmembrane and soluble TNF) and XPro1595 (blocks soluble TNF only).
We found that enteric neurons express TNF receptors (TNFR1 and R2). Primary enteric neurons from NPY−/− mice produced less TNF compared to WT. Further, TNF activated NPY promoter in enteric neurons via phospho-c-jun. NPY−/− mice had decreased intestinal permeability. In vitro, NPY increased epithelial permeability via phosphatidyl inositol-3-kinase (PI3-K)-induced pore-forming claudin-2. TNF inhibitors attenuated NPY expression in vitro and in vivo. TNF-inhibitor-treated colitic mice exhibited reduced NPY expression and inflammation, reduced oxidative stress, enhanced neuronal survival and improved colonic motility. XPro1595 had more protective effects on neuronal survival and motility compared to etanercept.
We demonstrate a novel TNF-NPY cross talk that modulates inflammation, barrier functions and colonic motility during inflammation. It is also suggested that selective blocking of soluble TNF maybe a better therapeutic option than using anti-TNF antibodies.
PMCID: PMC4180268  PMID: 24108115
NPY; TNF; enteric neurons; experimental colitis; barrier functions; colonic motility
6.  Fut3-dependent synthesis of sLea on CD44v6 mediates PMN detachment from intestinal epithelium during transepithelial migration 
PMN migration across the intestinal epithelium closely parallels disease symptoms in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). PMN transepithelial migration (TEM) is a multistep process that terminates with PMN detachment from the apical epithelium into the lumen. Using a unique mAb (GM35), we have previously demonstrated that engagement of the V6 variant of CD44 (CD44v6) blocks both PMN detachment and cleavage of CD44v6. Here, we report that PMN binding to CD44v6 is mediated by protein-specific O-glycosylation with sialyl Lewis A (sLea). Analyses of glycosyltransferase expression identified fucosyltransferase 3 (Fut3) as the key enzyme driving sLea biosynthesis in human intestinal epithelial cells (IECs). Fut3 transfection of sLea-deficient IECs resulted in robust expression of sLea. However, this glycan was not expressed on CD44v6 in these transfected IECs, and therefore engagement of sLea had no effect on PMN TEM across these cells. Analyses of sLea in human colonic mucosa revealed minimal expression in noninflamed areas, with striking upregulation under colitic conditions that correlated with increased expression of CD44v6. Importantly, intraluminal administration of mAb GM35 blocked PMN TEM and attenuated associated increases in intestinal permeability in a murine intestinal model of inflammation. These findings identify a unique role for protein-specific O-glycosylation in regulating PMN-epithelial interactions at the luminal surface of the intestine.
PMCID: PMC4047976  PMID: 24068663
7.  The N-BAR Domain Protein, Bin3, Regulates Rac1- and Cdc42-Dependent Processes in Myogenesis 
Developmental biology  2013;382(1):160-171.
Actin dynamics are necessary at multiple steps in the formation of multinucleated muscle cells. BAR domain proteins can regulate actin dynamics in several cell types, but have been little studied in skeletal muscle. Here, we identify novel functions for the N-BAR domain protein, Bridging integrator 3 (Bin3), during myogenesis in mice. Bin3 plays an important role in regulating myofiber size in vitro and in vivo. During early myogenesis, Bin3 promotes migration of differentiated muscle cells, where it colocalizes with F-actin in lamellipodia. In addition, Bin3 forms a complex with Rac1 and Cdc42, Rho GTPases involved in actin polymerization, which are known to be essential for myotube formation. Importantly, a Bin3-dependent pathway is a major regulator of Rac1 and Cdc42 activity in differentiated muscle cells. Overall, these data classify N-BAR domain proteins as novel regulators of actin-dependent processes in myogenesis, and further implicate BAR domain proteins in muscle growth and repair.
PMCID: PMC3783639  PMID: 23872330
BAR domain; myogenesis; Rac1; Cdc42; F-actin; muscle regeneration
8.  House Dust Mite Der p 1 Effects on Sinonasal Epithelial Tight Junctions 
Epithelial permeability is highly dependent upon the integrity of tight junctions, cell-cell adhesion complexes located at the apical aspect of the lateral membrane of polarized epithelial cells. We hypothesize that sinonasal epithelial exposure to Der p 1 house dust mite antigen decreases expression of tight junction proteins (TJPs), representing a potential mechanism for increased permeability and presentation of antigens across the sinonasal epithelial layer.
Confluent cultured primary human sinonasal epithelial cells were exposed to recombinant Der p 1 antigen versus control, and transepithelial resistance measurements were performed over 24 hours. Antibody staining for a panel of tight junction proteins was examined with immunofluorescence/confocal microscopy and Western blotting. Tissue for these experiments was obtained from 4 patients total.
Der p 1 exposed sinonasal cells showed a marked decrease in transepithelial resistance when compared to control cells. In addition, results of Western immunoblot and immunofluorescent labeling demonstrated decreased expression of TJPs claudin-1 and junction adhesion molecule-A (JAM-A) in Der p 1 exposed cultured sinonasal cells versus controls.
Der p 1 antigen exposure decreases sinonasal epithelium TJP expression, most notably seen in JAM-A and claudin-1 in these preliminary experiments. This decreased TJP expression likely contributes to increased epithelial permeability and represents a potential mechanism for transepithelial antigen exposure in allergic rhinitis.
PMCID: PMC3782710  PMID: 23592402
House dust mite; rhinitis; tight junction; allergic rhinitis; epithelium; sinonasal; junction adhesion molecule; claudin-1
9.  Trans-dimerization of JAM-A regulates Rap2 and is mediated by a domain that is distinct from the cis-dimerization interface 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(10):1574-1585.
Junctional adhesion molecule-A (JAM-A) is a tight junction–associated signaling protein that homodimerizes across cells at a unique motif to activate the small GTPase Rap2, previously implicated in the regulation of barrier function. JAM-A may therefore act as a barrier-inducing molecular switch that is activated when cells become confluent.
Junctional adhesion molecule-A (JAM-A) is a tight junction–associated signaling protein that regulates epithelial cell proliferation, migration, and barrier function. JAM-A dimerization on a common cell surface (in cis) has been shown to regulate cell migration, and evidence suggests that JAM-A may form homodimers between cells (in trans). Indeed, transfection experiments revealed accumulation of JAM-A at sites between transfected cells, which was lost in cells expressing cis- or predicted trans-dimerization null mutants. Of importance, microspheres coated with JAM-A containing alanine substitutions to residues 43NNP45 (NNP-JAM-A) within the predicted trans-dimerization site did not aggregate. In contrast, beads coated with cis-null JAM-A demonstrated enhanced clustering similar to that observed with wild-type (WT) JAM-A. In addition, atomic force microscopy revealed decreased association forces in NNP-JAM-A compared with WT and cis-null JAM-A. Assessment of effects of JAM-A dimerization on cell signaling revealed that expression of trans- but not cis-null JAM-A mutants decreased Rap2 activity. Furthermore, confluent cells, which enable trans-dimerization, had enhanced Rap2 activity. Taken together, these results suggest that trans-dimerization of JAM-A occurs at a unique site and with different affinity compared with dimerization in cis. Trans-dimerization of JAM-A may thus act as a barrier-inducing molecular switch that is activated when cells become confluent.
PMCID: PMC4019489  PMID: 24672055
10.  Sinonasal Epithelial Wound Resealing in an In Vitro Model: Inhibition of Wound Closure with IL-4 Exposure 
Prolonged healing and persistent inflammation following surgery for rhinosinusitis impacts patient satisfaction and healthcare resources. Cytokines interleukin (IL)-4, 5, and 13 are important mediators in Th2 inflammatory rhinosinusitis. Decreased wound healing has been demonstrated with Th2 cytokine exposure, but this has not been extensively studied in sinonasal epithelium. We hypothesized that in vitro exposure of primary sinonasal epithelial cell cultures to Th2 inflammatory cytokine IL-4 and IL-13 would impair wound resealing and decrease expression of annexin A2 at the wound edge.
Following 24-hour exposure to IL-4, 5, or 13 versus controls, sterile linear mechanical wounds were created in primary sinonasal epithelial cultures (n = 12 wounds per condition). Wounds were followed for 36 hours or until complete closure and residual wound areas were calculated by image analysis. Group differences in annexin A2 were assessed by immunofluorescence labeling, confocal microscopy, and Western blots.
Significant wound closure differences were identified across cytokine exposure groups (p<0.001). Mean percentage wound closure at the completion of the 36-hour timecourse was 98.41% ± 3.43% for control wounds versus 85.02% ± 18.46% for IL-4 exposed wounds. IL-13 did not significantly impair sinonasal epithelial wound resealing in vitro. Annexin A2 protein levels were decreased in IL-4 treated wounds when compared to control wounds (p<0.01).
Th2 cytokine IL-4 decreases sinonasal epithelial wound closure in vitro. Annexin A2 is also diminished with IL-4 exposure. This supports the hypothesis that IL-4 exposure impairs sinonasal epithelial wound healing and may contribute to prolonged healing in Th2 inflammatory rhinosinusitis.
PMCID: PMC3686916  PMID: 23468432
Epithelial cell; wound healing; cytokine; inflammation; interleukin 4; IL-4; annexin A2; Th2 inflammation; rhinosinusitis
12.  Epithelial adhesive junctions 
F1000Prime Reports  2014;6:1.
Epithelial adhesive cell-to-cell contacts contain large, plasma membrane-spanning multiprotein aggregates that perform vital structural and signaling functions. Three prominent adhesive contacts are the tight junction, adherens junction, and the desmosome. Each junction type has unique cellular functions and a complex molecular composition. In this review, we comment on recent and exciting advances in our understanding of junction composition and function.
PMCID: PMC3883420  PMID: 24592313
13.  Epithelial Permeability Alterations in an In Vitro Air-Liquid Interface Model of Allergic Fungal Rhinosinusitis 
Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is an inflammatory upper-airway disease with numerous etiologies. Patients with a characteristic subtype of CRS, allergic fungal rhinosinusitis (AFRS), display increased expression of Th2 cytokines and antigen-specific IgE. Various sinonasal inflammatory conditions are associated with alterations in epithelial barrier function. The aim of this study was to compare epithelial permeability and intercellular junctional protein expression amongst cultured primary sinonasal cells from AFRS patients versus non-inflammatory controls.
Epithelial cells isolated from paranasal sinus mucosa of AFRS and non-inflammatory control patients were grown to confluence on permeable supports and transitioned to air-liquid interface (ALI). Trans-epithelial resistance (TER) was measured with a horizontal Ussing chamber to characterize the functional permeability of each cell type. After TER recordings were complete, a panel of intercellular junctional proteins was assessed by Western blot and immunofluorescence labeling followed by confocal microscopy.
After 12 samples were measured from each group, we observed a 41% mean decrease in TER in AFRS cells (296±89 ohms × cm2) compared to control (503±134 ohms × cm2, P=0.006). TER deficits observed in AFRS were associated with decreased expression of the tight junction proteins occludin and Junctional Adhesion Molecule-A (JAM-A), and increased expression of a leaky tight junction protein claudin-2.
Cultured sinonasal epithelium from AFRS patients displayed increased epithelial permeability and altered expression of intercellular junctional proteins. Given that these cells were not incubated with inflammatory cytokines in vitro, the cultured AFRS epithelial alterations may represent a retained modification in protein expression from the in vivo phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3511593  PMID: 22927233
Adherens junction; allergic fungal rhinosinusitis; allergic rhinitis; claudin-2; E-cadherin; epithelial permeability; junction adhesion molecule-A; occludin; sinonasal epithelium; tight junction
14.  JAM-A associates with ZO-2, afadin, and PDZ-GEF1 to activate Rap2c and regulate epithelial barrier function 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(18):2849-2860.
Intestinal barrier function is regulated by epithelial tight junctions, structures that control paracellular permeability. JAM-A regulates epithelial permeability through association with ZO-2, afadin, and PDZ-GEF1 to activate Rap2c and control contraction of the apical cytoskeleton.
Intestinal barrier function is regulated by epithelial tight junctions (TJs), structures that control paracellular permeability. Junctional adhesion molecule-A (JAM-A) is a TJ-associated protein that regulates barrier; however, mechanisms linking JAM-A to epithelial permeability are poorly understood. Here we report that JAM-A associates directly with ZO-2 and indirectly with afadin, and this complex, along with PDZ-GEF1, activates the small GTPase Rap2c. Supporting a functional link, small interfering RNA–mediated down-regulation of the foregoing regulatory proteins results in enhanced permeability similar to that observed after JAM-A loss. JAM-A–deficient mice and cultured epithelial cells demonstrate enhanced paracellular permeability to large molecules, revealing a potential role of JAM-A in controlling perijunctional actin cytoskeleton in addition to its previously reported role in regulating claudin proteins and small-molecule permeability. Further experiments suggest that JAM-A does not regulate actin turnover but modulates activity of RhoA and phosphorylation of nonmuscle myosin, both implicated in actomyosin contraction. These results suggest that JAM-A regulates epithelial permeability via association with ZO-2, afadin, and PDZ-GEF1 to activate Rap2c and control contraction of the apical cytoskeleton.
PMCID: PMC3771947  PMID: 23885123
15.  Distinct Phospholipase C-β Isozymes Mediate Lysophosphatidic Acid Receptor 1 Effects on Intestinal Epithelial Homeostasis and Wound Closure 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(10):2016-2028.
Maintenance of the epithelial barrier in the intestinal tract is necessary to protect the host from the hostile luminal environment. Phospholipase C-β (PLC-β) has been implicated to control myriad signaling cascades. However, the biological effects of selective PLC-β isozymes are poorly understood. We describe novel findings that lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) regulates PLC-β1 and PLC-β2 via two distinct pathways to enhance intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) proliferation and migration that facilitate wound closure and recovery of the intestinal epithelial barrier. LPA acting on the LPA1 receptor promotes IEC migration by facilitating the interaction of Gαq with PLC-β2. LPA-induced cell proliferation is PLC-β1 dependent and involves translocation of Gαq to the nucleus, where it interacts with PLC-β1 to induce cell cycle progression. An in vivo study using LPA1-deficient mice (Lpar1−/−) shows a decreased number of proliferating IECs and migration along the crypt-luminal axis. Additionally, LPA enhances migration and proliferation of IECs in an LPA1-dependent manner, and Lpar1−/− mice display defective mucosal wound repair that requires cell proliferation and migration. These findings delineate novel LPA1-dependent lipid signaling that facilitates mucosal wound repair via spatial targeting of distinct PLC-βs within the cell.
PMCID: PMC3647975  PMID: 23478264
16.  Compromised intestinal epithelial barrier induces adaptive immune compensation that protects from colitis 
Immunity  2012;37(3):563-573.
Mice lacking Junctional Adhesion Molecule A (JAM-A, encoded by F11r) exhibit enhanced intestinal epithelial permeability, bacterial translocation, and elevated colonic lymphocyte numbers, yet do not develop colitis. To investigate the contribution of adaptive immune compensation in response to increased intestinal epithelial permeability, we examined the susceptibility of F11r-/-Rag1-/- mice to acute colitis. Although negligible contributions of adaptive immunity in F11r-/-Rag1-/- mice were observed, F11r-/-Rag1-/- mice exhibited increased microflora-dependent colitis. Elimination of T cell subsets and cytokine analyses revealed a protective role for TGF-β-producing CD4+ T cells in F11r-/- mice. Additionally, loss of JAM-A resulted in elevated mucosal and serum IgA that was dependent upon CD4+ T cells and TGF-β. Absence of IgA in F11r+/+Igha-/- mice did not affect disease whereas F11r-/-Igha-/- mice displayed markedly increased susceptibility to acute injury induced colitis. These data establish a role for adaptive immune mediated protection from acute colitis under conditions of intestinal epithelial barrier compromise.
PMCID: PMC3564580  PMID: 22981539
17.  Protein kinase CK2 is a critical regulator of epithelial homeostasis in chronic intestinal inflammation 
Mucosal immunology  2012;6(1):136-145.
Molecular mechanisms that restore intestinal epithelial homeostasis during colitis are incompletely understood. Here, we report that during intestinal inflammation, multiple inflammatory cytokines promote the activity of a master regulator of cell proliferation and apoptosis, serine/threonine kinase CK2. Enhanced mucosal CK2 protein expression and activity were observed in animal models of chronic colitis, particularly within intestinal epithelial cells. In-vitro treatment of intestinal epithelial cell lines with cytokines resulted in increased CK2 expression and nuclear translocation of its catalytic α subunit. Similarly, nuclear translocation of CK2α was a prominent feature observed in colonic crypts from individuals with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Further invitro studies revealed that CK2 activity promotes epithelial restitution, and protects normal intestinal epithelial cells from cytokine-induced apoptosis. These observations identify CK2 as a key regulator of homeostatic properties of the intestinal epithelium that serves to promote wound healing, in part through inhibition of apoptosis under conditions of inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3517934  PMID: 22763408
18.  IFN-γ and TNF-α induced GBP-1 inhibits epithelial cell proliferation through suppression of β-catenin/TCF signaling 
Mucosal immunology  2012;5(6):681-690.
Proinflammatory cytokines induce Guanylate Binding Protein 1 (GBP-1) protein expression in intestinal epithelial tissues. GBP-1 has been described as influencing a number of cellular processes important for epithelial homeostasis, including cell proliferation. However, many questions remain as to the role of GBP-1 in intestinal mucosal homeostasis. We therefore sought to investigate the function of proinflammatory cytokine induced GBP-1 during intestinal epithelial cell proliferation. Through the use of complementary GBP-1 overexpression and siRNA-mediated knockdown studies, we now show that GBP-1 acts to inhibit pro-mitogenic β-catenin/T cell factor (TCF) signaling. Interestingly, proinflammatory cytokine induced GBP-1 was found to be a potent suppressor of β-catenin protein levels and β-catenin serine 552 phosphorylation. Neither GSK3-β nor proteasomal inhibition alleviated GBP-1-mediated suppression of cell proliferation or β- catenin/TCF signaling, indicating a non-canonical mechanism of β-catenin inhibition. Together, these data show that cytokine-induced GBP-1 retards cell proliferation by forming a negative feedback loop that suppresses β-catenin/TCF signaling.
PMCID: PMC3481006  PMID: 22692453
19.  Analyzing epithelial and endothelial kisses in Merida 
Tissue Barriers  2013;1(2):e24265.
Last November a group of principal investigators, postdoctoral fellows and PhD students from around the world got together in the city of Merida in Southeastern Mexico in a State of the Art meeting on the “Molecular structure and function of the apical junctional complex in epithelial and endothelia.” They analyzed diverse tissue barriers including those in the gastrointestinal tract, the blood brain barrier, blood neural and blood retinal barriers. The talks revealed exciting new findings in the field, novel technical approaches and unpublished data and highlighted the importance of studying junctional complexes to better understand several pathogenesis and to develop therapeutic approaches that can be utilized for drug delivery. This meeting report has the purpose of highlighting the results and advances discussed by the speakers at the Merida Meeting.
PMCID: PMC3879127
tight junction; occludin; claudins; ZO; blood brain barrier; apical junctional complex
20.  Cleavage of transmembrane junction proteins and their role in regulating epithelial homeostasis 
Tissue Barriers  2013;1(2):e24783.
Epithelial tissues form a selective barrier that separates the external environment from the internal tissue milieu. Single epithelial cells are densely packed and associate via distinct intercellular junctions. Intercellular junction proteins not only control barrier properties of the epithelium but also play an important role in regulating epithelial homeostasis that encompasses cell proliferation, migration, differentiation and regulated shedding. Recent studies have revealed that several proteases target epithelial junction proteins during physiological maturation as well as in pathologic states such as inflammation and cancer. This review discusses mechanisms and biological consequences of transmembrane junction protein cleavage. The influence of junction protein cleavage products on pathogenesis of inflammation and cancer is discussed.
PMCID: PMC3879235  PMID: 24665393
epithelia; intercellular junctions; cleavage of junction proteins; epithelial homeostasis; proteases; soluble junction protein ectodomains; protein shedding; mucosal inflammation; inflammatory bowel disease; cancer
21.  Activation of PKCβII by PMA Facilitates Enhanced Epithelial Wound Repair through Increased Cell Spreading and Migration 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55775.
Rapid repair of epithelial wounds is essential for intestinal homeostasis, and involves cell proliferation and migration, which in turn are mediated by multiple cellular signaling events including PKC activation. PKC isoforms have been implicated in regulating cell proliferation and migration, however, the role of PKCs in intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) wound healing is still not completely understood. In the current work we used phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), a well recognized agonist of classical and non-conventional PKC subfamilies to investigate the effect of PKC activation on IEC wound healing. We found that PMA treatment of wounded IEC monolayers resulted in 5.8±0.7-fold increase in wound closure after 24 hours. The PMA effect was specifically mediated by PKCβII, as its inhibition significantly diminished the PMA-induced increase in wound closure. Furthermore, we show that the PKCβII-mediated increase in IEC wound closure after PMA stimulation was mediated by increased cell spreading/cell migration but not proliferation. Cell migration was mediated by PKCβII dependent actin cytoskeleton reorganization, enhanced formation of lamellipodial extrusions at the leading edge and increased activation of the focal adhesion protein, paxillin. These findings support a role for PKCβII in IEC wound repair and further demonstrate the ability of epithelial cells to migrate as a sheet thereby efficiently covering denuded surfaces to recover the intestinal epithelial barrier.
PMCID: PMC3569445  PMID: 23409039
22.  The Wnt Antagonist Dkk1 Regulates Intestinal Epithelial Homeostasis and Wound Repair 
Gastroenterology  2011;141(1):259-268.e8.
Dkk1 is a secreted antagonist of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. It is induced by inflammatory cytokines during colitis and exacerbates tissue damage by promoting apoptosis of epithelial cells. However, little is known about the physiologic role of Dkk1 in normal intestinal homeostasis and during wound repair following mucosal injury. We investigated whether inhibition of Dkk1 affects the morphology and function of the adult intestine.
We used doubleridge mice (Dkk1d/d), which have reduced expression of Dkk1, and an inhibitory Dkk1 antibody to modulate Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the intestine. Intestinal inflammation was induced with dextran sulfate sodium (DSS), followed by a recovery period in which mice were given regular drinking water. Animals were killed before, during, or after DSS administration; epithelial homeostasis and the activity of major signaling pathways were investigated by morphometric analysis, bromo-2′-deoxyuridine incorporation, and immunostaining.
Reduced expression of Dkk1 increased proliferation of epithelial cells and lengthened crypts in the large intestine, which was associated with increased transcriptional activity of β-catenin. Crypt extension was particularly striking when Dkk1 was inhibited during acute colitis. Dkk1d/d mice recovered significantly faster from intestinal inflammation but exhibited crypt architectural irregularities and epithelial hyperproliferation compared with wild-type mice. Survival signaling pathways were concurrently up-regulated in Dkk1d/d mice, including the AKT/β-catenin, ERK/Elk-1, and c-Jun pathways.
Dkk1, an antagonist of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, regulates intestinal epithelial homeostasis under physiologic conditions and during inflammation. Depletion of Dkk1 induces a strong proliferative response that promotes wound repair after colitis.
PMCID: PMC3551610  PMID: 21440550
IBD; Crohn’s Disease; Mucosa; Intestinal Cell Signaling
23.  Annexin A1, formyl peptide receptor, and NOX1 orchestrate epithelial repair 
N-formyl peptide receptors (FPRs) are critical regulators of host defense in phagocytes and are also expressed in epithelia. FPR signaling and function have been extensively studied in phagocytes, yet their functional biology in epithelia is poorly understood. We describe a novel intestinal epithelial FPR signaling pathway that is activated by an endogenous FPR ligand, annexin A1 (ANXA1), and its cleavage product Ac2-26, which mediate activation of ROS by an epithelial NADPH oxidase, NOX1. We show that epithelial cell migration was regulated by this signaling cascade through oxidative inactivation of the regulatory phosphatases PTEN and PTP-PEST, with consequent activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and paxillin. In vivo studies using intestinal epithelial specific Nox1–/–IEC and AnxA1–/– mice demonstrated defects in intestinal mucosal wound repair, while systemic administration of ANXA1 promoted wound recovery in a NOX1-dependent fashion. Additionally, increased ANXA1 expression was observed in the intestinal epithelium and infiltrating leukocytes in the mucosa of ulcerative colitis patients compared with normal intestinal mucosa. Our findings delineate a novel epithelial FPR1/NOX1-dependent redox signaling pathway that promotes mucosal wound repair.
PMCID: PMC3533303  PMID: 23241962
24.  Krüppel-like Factor 5 is Important for Maintenance of Crypt Architecture and Barrier Function in Mouse Intestine 
Gastroenterology  2011;141(4):1302-1313.e6.
Background & Aims
Krüppel-like factor 5 (KLF5) is transcription factor that is expressed by dividing epithelial cells of the intestinal epithelium. KLF5 promotes proliferation in vitro and in vivo and is induced by mitogens and various stress stimuli. To study the role of KLF5 in intestinal epithelial homeostasis, we examined the phenotype of mice with conditional deletion of Klf5 in the gut.
Mice were generated with intestinal-specific deletion of Klf5 (Vil-Cre;Klf5fl/fl).
Morphological changes in the small intestine and colon were examined by immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting, and real-time PCR.
Klf5 mutant mice were born at a normal Mendelian ratio but had high mortality compared to controls. Complete deletion of Klf5 from the intestinal mucosa resulted in neonatal lethality that corresponded with an absence of epithelial proliferation. Variegated intestinal-specific deletion of Klf5 in adult mice resulted in morphological changes that included a regenerative phenotype, impaired barrier function, and inflammation. Adult mutant mice exhibited defects in epithelial differentiation and migration. These changes were associated with reduced expression of Cdx 1, Cdx2, and Eph and ephrin signaling proteins. Concomitantly, Wnt signaling to β-catenin was reduced. Proliferation in regenerative crypts was associated with increased expression of the progenitor cell marker Sox9.
Deletion of Klf5 in the gut epithelium of mice demonstrated that KLF5 maintains epithelial proliferation, differentiation, and cell positioning along the crypt radial axis. Morphological changes that occur with deletion of Klf5 are associated with disruption of canonical Wnt signaling and increased expression of Sox9.
PMCID: PMC3186863  PMID: 21763241
intestinal homeostasis; gastrointestinal development; genetics; GI tract
25.  Characterization of full-length and proteolytic cleavage fragments of desmoglein-2 in native human colon and colonic epithelial cell lines 
Cell Adhesion & Migration  2011;5(4):306-314.
The desmosomal cadherin desmoglein-2 (Dsg2) is a transmembrane cell adhesion protein that is widely expressed in epithelial and non-epithelial tissues, such as the intestine, epidermis, testis and heart. Dsg2 has been shown to regulate numerous cellular processes, including proliferation and apoptosis, and we have previously reported that intracellular fragments of Dsg2 promote apoptosis in colonic epithelial cells. While several studies have shown that both the extracellular and intracellular domains of Dsg2 can be targeted by proteases, identification of these putative Dsg2 fragments in colonic epithelial cells has not been performed. Here, we report that the mouse monoclonal antibody (mAb) AH12.2 binds to the first extracellular domain of Dsg2. Using this antibody along with previously described mAb against the extracellular (6D8) and intracellular (DG3.10) domains of Dsg2, we characterize the expression and identify the cleavage fragments of Dsg2 in colonic epithelial cells. This study provides a detailed description of the extracellular and intracellular Dsg2 cleavage fragments that are generated in the simple epithelium of the colon and will guide future studies examining the relationship of these fragments to cellular fate and disease states.
PMCID: PMC3210298  PMID: 21715983
desmoglein-2; protease; cleavage fragment; intestinal epithelium; ectodomain shedding; antibody

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