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1.  IL-36 receptor promotes resolution of intestinal damage 
Interleukin-1 family members are central mediators of host defense. Here we show that the novel IL-1 family member, IL-36γ, was expressed during experimental colitis and human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In response to dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced damage, germ-free (GF) mice failed to induce IL-36γ, suggesting that gut microbiota are involved in its induction. Surprisingly, IL-36R-deficient (Il1rl2−/−) mice exhibited defective recovery following DSS-induced damage and impaired closure of colonic mucosal biopsy wounds, which coincided with impaired neutrophil accumulation in the wound bed. Failure of Il1rl2−/− mice to recover from DSS-induced damage was associated with a profound reduction in IL-22 expression, particularly by colonic neutrophils. Defective recovery of Il1rl2−/− mice could be rescued an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonist, which was sufficient to restore IL-22 expression and promote full recovery from DSS-induced damage. These findings implicate the IL-36/IL-36R axis in the resolution of intestinal mucosal wounds.
PMCID: PMC4684965  PMID: 26590314
2.  Overexpressed Claudin-1 Can Be Visualized Endoscopically in Colonic Adenomas In Vivo 
Background & Aims
Conventional white light colonoscopy aims to reduce the incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer (CRC). CRC has been found to arise from missed polypoid and flat pre-cancerous lesions. We aim to establish proof-of-concept for real time endoscopic imaging of colonic adenomas using a near-infrared peptide that is specific for claudin-1.
We used gene expression profiles to identify claudin-1 as a promising early CRC target, and performed phage display against the extracellular loop of claudin-1 (amino acids 53–80) to identify the peptide RTSPSSR. With a Cy5.5 label, we characterized binding parameters and demonstrated specific binding to human CRC cells. We collected in vivo near-infrared fluorescence images endoscopically in the CPC;Apc mouse that develops colonic adenomas spontaneously. With immunofluorescence, we validated specific peptide binding to adenomas from proximal human colon.
We found a 2.5-fold increase in gene expression for claudin-1 in human colonic adenomas compared with normal. We demonstrated specific binding of RTSPSSR to claudin-1 in knockdown and competition studies, and measured an affinity of 42 nM and time constant of 1.2 minutes to SW620 cells. In the mouse, we found a significantly higher target-to-background ratio for both polypoid and flat adenomas compared to normal with in vivo images. On immunofluorescence, we found significantly greater intensity (mean±std) for human adenomas (25.5±14.0) versus normal (9.1±6.0) and hyperplastic polyps (3.1±3.7), P=10−5 and 8×10−12, respectively, and for sessile serrated adenomas (20.1±13.3) versus normal and hyperplastic polyps, P=0.02 and 3×10−7, respectively.
Claudin-1 is overexpressed in pre-malignant colonic lesions, and can be detected endoscopically in vivo with a near-infrared labeled peptide.
Claudin-1 is highly overexpressed in human colonic adenomas. Using a near-infrared labeled fluorescent peptide, we demonstrate real time in vivo images in a mouse model of spontaneous adenomas to show feasibility for future clinical translation to detect pre-cancerous lesions.
PMCID: PMC4980721  PMID: 27840845
colon cancer; early detection; molecular imaging
3.  The microenvironment of injured murine gut elicits a local pro-restitutive microbiota 
Nature microbiology  2016;1:15021.
The mammalian intestine houses a complex microbial community, which influences normal epithelial growth and development, and is integral to the repair of damaged intestinal mucosa1–3. Restitution of injured mucosa involves the recruitment of immune cells, epithelial migration and proliferation4,5. Although microenvironmental alterations have been described in wound healing6, a role for extrinsic influences, such as members of the microbiota, has not been reported. Here, we show that a distinct subpopulation of the normal mucosal-associated gut microbiota expands and preferentially colonizes sites of damaged murine mucosa in response to local environmental cues. Our results demonstrate that formyl peptide receptor 1 (FPR1) and neutrophilic NADPH oxidase (NOX2) are required for the rapid depletion of microenvironmental oxygen and compensatory responses, resulting in a dramatic enrichment of an anaerobic bacterial consortium. Furthermore, the dominant member of this wound-mucosa-associated microbiota, Akkermansia muciniphila (an anaerobic, mucinophilic gut symbiont7,8), stimulated proliferation and migration of enterocytes adjacent to the colonic wounds in a process involving FPR1 and intestinal epithelial-cell-specific NOX1-dependent redox signalling. These findings thus demonstrate how wound microenvironments induce the rapid emergence of ‘probiont’ species that contribute to enhanced repair of mucosal wounds. Such microorganisms could be exploited as potential therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC5076466  PMID: 27571978
4.  RhoGTPases, actomyosin signaling and regulation of the Epithelial Apical Junctional Complex 
Epithelial cells form regulated and selective barriers between distinct tissue compartments. The Apical Junctional Complex (AJC) consisting of the tight junction (TJ) and adherens junction (AJ) control epithelial homeostasis, paracellular permeability and barrier properties. The AJC is composed of mutliprotein complexes consisting of transmembrane proteins that affiliate with an underlying perijunctional F-actin myosin ring through cytoplasmic scaffold proteins. AJC protein associations with the apical actin-myosin cytoskeleton are tightly controlled by a number of signaling proteins including the Rho family of GTPases that orchestrate junctional biology, epithelial homeostasis and barrier function. This review highlights the vital relationship of Rho GTPases and AJCs in controlling the epithelial barrier. The pathophysiologic relationship of Rho GTPases, AJC, apical actomyosin cytoskeleton and epithelial barrier function is discussed.
PMCID: PMC5054512  PMID: 25223584
Epithelia; Tight Junction; Adherens Junction; Barrier Function; Rho-GTPases; actin and myosin cytoskeleton
5.  Introduction for the special issue on “Tissue Barriers in Inflammation” 
Tissue Barriers  2015;3(1-2):e1015825.
This issue of Tissue Barriers contains the inaugural special issue devoted to recent advances in barrier function of endothelial and epithelial cells. We used this opportunity to invite experts in vascular endothelial cell biology and epithelial cell biology to comment on critical questions and problems in permeability of organ and tissue barriers, and to provide insight into common areas in these fields, namely how these cells maintain homeostasis and response to injury and infection. To complement these reviews, this issue also contains four research articles that explore specific questions related respiratory and intestinal epithelial cell function.
PMCID: PMC4389789  PMID: 25927017
Barrier; endothelium; epithelium; cytokines; inflammation; leukocytes; IBD, inflammatory bowel disease; AJ, adherens junction; TJ, tight junction; PKC, protein kinase C; LPS, lipopolysaccharide; ICAM-1, intercellular adhesion molecule-1; PECAM-1, platelet endothelial cell molecule-1; NEC, necrotizing enterocolitis; HIF, Hypoxia-inducible Factor; GI, gastrointestinal; ER, endoplasmic reticulum.
6.  Immunohistological characterization of intercellular junction proteins in rhesus macaque intestine 
Epithelial junctions play an important role in regulating paracellular permeability and intercellular adhesion. It has been reported that changes in the density of epithelial junctions and/or distribution pattern can contribute to various gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. In this study, we investigated the distribution of the tight junction (Claudins 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, Zonula Occludens (ZO-1), Occludin), adherens junction (E-cadherin), desmosome (Desmoglein 2, Desmocollin 2) and gap junction (Connexin 43) proteins in the jejunum, ileum and colonic epithelium of healthy rhesus macaques (RM) using immunofluorescence labeling. While proteins in these respective junctions were expressed throughout the jejunum, ileum and colon of RM, we observed differential labeling in epithelial cells from these sites. Claudins 1, 3, 4, 7, E-cadherin and Desmoglein 2 were distributed in the respective intercellular junctions with additional labeling in the lateral membrane of epithelial cells in both small and large intestine. However, claudin 5, claudin 10, ZO-1 and occludin showed uniform distribution in the intercellular junctions of crypt and surface epithelial cells of the intestine. Desmocollin 2 localized predominantly in the upper two thirds along the lateral membrane while desmoglein 2 was distributed along the entire lateral membrane of intestinal epithelial cells. In contrast, connexin 43 exhibited punctate lateral labeling in crypt epithelial cells of the small and large intestine. Our results show diverse localization of epithelial intercellular junction proteins along the intestinal tract of RM. These findings may correlate with differences in paracellular permeability and adhesion along the intestinal tract and could correlate with pathologic disease in these regions of the intestine.
PMCID: PMC4327848  PMID: 25153024
Claudins; Connexins; Desmosome; Epithelial junctions; Immunohistochemistry
7.  Inflammation-induced desmoglein-2 ectodomain shedding compromises the mucosal barrier 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2015;26(18):3165-3177.
Proinflammatory cytokines promote desmoglein-2 (Dsg2) ectodomain shedding in intestinal epithelial cells. Epithelial exposure to Dsg2 ectodomains compromises intercellular adhesion while also promoting proliferation. These findings identify mechanisms by which mucosal inflammation–induced cleavage of Dsg2 influences intestinal epithelial homeostasis.
Desmosomal cadherins mediate intercellular adhesion and control epithelial homeostasis. Recent studies show that proteinases play an important role in the pathobiology of cancer by targeting epithelial intercellular junction proteins such as cadherins. Here we describe the proinflammatory cytokine-induced activation of matrix metalloproteinase 9 and a disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain–containing protein 10, which promote the shedding of desmosomal cadherin desmoglein-2 (Dsg2) ectodomains in intestinal epithelial cells. Epithelial exposure to Dsg2 ectodomains compromises intercellular adhesion by promoting the relocalization of endogenous Dsg2 and E-cadherin from the plasma membrane while also promoting proliferation by activation of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2/3 signaling. Cadherin ectodomains were detected in the inflamed intestinal mucosa of mice with colitis and patients with ulcerative colitis. Taken together, our findings reveal a novel response pathway in which inflammation-induced modification of columnar epithelial cell cadherins decreases intercellular adhesion while enhancing cellular proliferation, which may serve as a compensatory mechanism to promote repair.
PMCID: PMC4569309  PMID: 26224314
8.  Crohn's disease-associated Escherichia coli survive in macrophages by suppressing NFκB signaling 
Inflammatory bowel diseases  2014;20(8):1419-1425.
Epidemiological and genetic studies suggest a role for enteric flora in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease (CD). CD-associated Escherichia coli (CDEC) are characterized by their ability to invade epithelial cells, and survive and induce high concentration of TNF-α from infected macrophages. However, the molecular mechanisms of CDEC survival in infected macrophages are not completely understood.
Intracellular survival of CDEC strain LF82 isolated from inflamed ileum tissue, 13I isolated from inflamed colonic tissue, and control E. coli strains were tested in the murine macrophage cell line, J774A.1 by Gentamicin protection assay. Modulation of intracellular cell signaling pathways by the E. coli strains were assessed by western blot analysis and confocal microscopy.
13I demonstrated increased survival in macrophages with 2.6-fold higher intracellular bacteria compared to LF82, yet both strains induced comparable levels of TNF-α. LF82 and 13I differentially modulated key Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways during the acute phase of infection; LF82 activated all three MAPK pathways, whereas 13I activated ERK1/2 pathway but not p38 and JNK pathways. Both 13I and LF82 suppressed nuclear translocation of NFκB compared to non-invasive E. coli strains during the acute phase of infection. However, unlike non-invasive E. coli strains, 13I and LF82 infection resulted in chronic activation of NFκB during the later phase of infection.
Our results showed that CDEC survive in macrophages by initially suppressing NFκB activation. However, persistence of bacterial within macrophages induces chronic activation of NFκB, which correlates with increased TNF-α secretion from infected macrophages.
PMCID: PMC4104147  PMID: 24918323
Crohn’s disease; CD-associated Escherichia coli; Macrophages; NFκB
9.  Annexin A1–containing extracellular vesicles and polymeric nanoparticles promote epithelial wound repair 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2015;125(3):1215-1227.
Epithelial restitution is an essential process that is required to repair barrier function at mucosal surfaces following injury. Prolonged breaches in epithelial barrier function result in inflammation and further damage; therefore, a better understanding of the epithelial restitution process has potential for improving the development of therapeutics. In this work, we demonstrate that endogenous annexin A1 (ANXA1) is released as a component of extracellular vesicles (EVs) derived from intestinal epithelial cells, and these ANXA1-containing EVs activate wound repair circuits. Compared with healthy controls, patients with active inflammatory bowel disease had elevated levels of secreted ANXA1-containing EVs in sera, indicating that ANXA1-containing EVs are systemically distributed in response to the inflammatory process and could potentially serve as a biomarker of intestinal mucosal inflammation. Local intestinal delivery of an exogenous ANXA1 mimetic peptide (Ac2-26) encapsulated within targeted polymeric nanoparticles (Ac2-26 Col IV NPs) accelerated healing of murine colonic wounds after biopsy-induced injury. Moreover, one-time systemic administration of Ac2-26 Col IV NPs accelerated recovery following experimentally induced colitis. Together, our results suggest that local delivery of proresolving peptides encapsulated within nanoparticles may represent a potential therapeutic strategy for clinical situations characterized by chronic mucosal injury, such as is seen in patients with IBD.
PMCID: PMC4362251  PMID: 25664854
10.  IL-4 and IL-13 Compromise the Sinonasal Epithelial Barrier and Perturb Intercellular Junction Protein Expression 
Altered expression of epithelial intercellular junction proteins has been observed in sinonasal biopsies from nasal polyps and epithelial layers cultured from nasal polyp patients. These alterations comprise a “leaky” epithelial barrier phenotype. We hypothesize that Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 modulate epithelial junction proteins thereby contributing to the leaky epithelial barrier.
Differentiated primary sinonasal epithelial layers cultured at the air-liquid interface were exposed to IL-4, IL-13, and controls for 24 hours at 37°C. Epithelial resistance measurements were taken every 4 hours during cytokine exposure. Western blot and immunofluorescence staining/confocal microscopy were used to assess changes in a panel of tight and adherens junction proteins. Western blot densitometry was quantified with image analysis.
IL-4 and IL-13 exposure resulted in a mean decrease in transepithelial resistance at 24 hours to 51.6% (n=6) and 68.6% (n=8) of baseline, respectively. Tight junction protein JAM-A expression decreased 42.2% with IL-4 exposure (n=9) and 37.5% with IL-13 exposure (n=9). Adherens junction protein E-cadherin expression decreased 35.3% with IL-4 exposure (n=9) and 32.9% with IL-13 exposure (n=9). Tight junction protein claudin-2 showed more variability but had a trend toward higher expression with Th2 cytokine exposure. There were no appreciable changes in claudin-1, occludin, or ZO-1 with IL-4 or IL-13 exposure.
Sinonasal epithelial exposure to Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 results in alterations in intercellular junction proteins, reflecting increased epithelial permeability. Such changes may explain some of the phenotypic manifestations of Th2-mediated sinonasal disease, such as edema, nasal discharge, and environmental reactivity.
PMCID: PMC4158853  PMID: 24510479
Epithelial cell; cytokine; inflammation; interleukin 4; IL-4; interleukin 13; IL-13; Th2 inflammation; rhinosinusitis; allergic fungal sinusitis
11.  JAM related proteins in mucosal homeostasis and inflammation 
Seminars in immunopathology  2014;36(2):211-226.
Mucosal surfaces are lined by epithelial cells that form a physical barrier protecting the body against external noxious substances and pathogens. At a molecular level, the mucosal barrier is regulated by tight junctions (TJs) that seal the paracellular space between adjacent epithelial cells. Transmembrane proteins within TJs include Junctional Adhesion Molecules (JAMs) that belong to the CTX (Cortical Thymocyte marker for Xenopus) family of proteins. JAM family encompasses three classical members (JAM-A, -B and –C) and related molecules including JAM4, JAM-Like protein (JAM-L), Coxsackie and Adenovirus Receptor (CAR), CAR-Like Membrane Protein (CLMP) and Endothelial cell-Selective Adhesion Molecule (ESAM). JAMs have multiple functions that include regulation of endothelial and epithelial paracellular permeability, leukocyte recruitment during inflammation, angiogenesis, cell migration and proliferation. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge regarding the roles of the JAM family members in the regulation of mucosal homeostasis and leukocyte trafficking with a particular emphasis on barrier function and its perturbation during pathological inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4084508  PMID: 24667924
JAMs; Tight junction; Leukocyte trafficking; Inflammatory Bowel Disease
12.  Neutrophil-derived JAML Inhibits Repair of Intestinal Epithelial Injury During Acute Inflammation 
Mucosal immunology  2014;7(5):1221-1232.
Neutrophil transepithelial migration (TEM) during acute inflammation is associated with mucosal injury. Using models of acute mucosal injury in-vitro and in-vivo, we describe a new mechanism by which neutrophils infiltrating the intestinal mucosa disrupt epithelial homeostasis. We report that junctional adhesion molecule-like protein (JAML) is cleaved from neutrophil surface by zinc-metalloproteases during TEM. Neutrophil-derived soluble JAML bound to the epithelial tight junction protein coxsackie-adenovirus receptor (CAR) resulting in compromised barrier and inhibition of wound repair, through decreased epithelial proliferation. The deleterious effects of JAML on barrier and wound repair were reversed with an anti-JAML mAb that inhibits JAML-CAR binding. Thus, JAML released from transmigrating neutrophils across inflamed epithelia can promote recruitment of leukocytes and aid in clearance of invading microorganisms. However, sustained release of JAML under pathologic conditions associated with persistence of large numbers of infiltrated neutrophil would compromise intestinal barrier and inhibit mucosal healing. Targeting JAML-CAR interactions may thus improve mucosal healing responses under conditions of dysregulated neutrophil recruitment.
PMCID: PMC4340686  PMID: 24621992
13.  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
14.  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
15.  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
16.  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
17.  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
18.  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
19.  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
20.  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
21.  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
22.  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
24.  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
25.  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

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