mTOR disruption causes intestinal epithelial cell defects and intestinal atrophy postinjury in mice.

Sampson LL, Davis AK, Grogg MW, Zheng Y
FASEB J. 2016 30 (3): 1263-75

PMID: 26631481 · PMCID: PMC4750410 · DOI:10.1096/fj.15-278606

Intestinal stem cells (ISCs) drive small intestinal epithelial homeostasis and regeneration. Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) regulates stem and progenitor cell metabolism and is frequently dysregulated in human disease, but its physiologic functions in the mammalian small intestinal epithelium remain poorly defined. We disrupted the genes mTOR, Rptor, Rictor, or both Rptor and Rictor in mouse ISCs, progenitors, and differentiated intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) using Villin-Cre. Mutant tissues and wild-type or heterozygous littermate controls were analyzed by histologic immunostaining, immunoblots, and proliferation assays. A total of 10 Gy irradiation was used to injure the intestinal epithelium and induce subsequent crypt regeneration. We report that mTOR supports absorptive enterocytes and secretory Paneth and goblet cell function while negatively regulating chromogranin A-positive enteroendocrine cell number. Through additional Rptor, Rictor, and Rptor/Rictor mutant mouse models, we identify mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 as the major IEC regulatory pathway, but mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 2 also contributes to ileal villus maintenance and goblet cell size. Homeostatic adult small intestinal crypt cell proliferation, survival, and canonical wingless-int (WNT) activity are not mTOR dependent, but Olfm4(+) ISC/progenitor population maintenance and crypt regeneration postinjury require mTOR. Overall, we conclude that mTOR regulates multiple IEC lineages and promotes stem and progenitor cell activity during intestinal epithelium repair postinjury.


MeSH Terms (19)

Animals Atrophy Cell Differentiation Cell Proliferation Enterocytes Enteroendocrine Cells Epithelial Cells Goblet Cells Homeostasis Intestinal Mucosa Intestine, Small Male Mice Mice, Inbred C57BL Paneth Cells Regeneration Signal Transduction Stem Cells TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases

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