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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Oncotarget

Volume 8, Issue 61, October 2017, Pages 102923-102933

The published version is available at DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.22084. Copyright © Kraft et al.


Long-lived multipotent stem cells (ISCs) at the base of intestinal crypts adjust their phenotypes to accommodate normal maintenance and post-injury regeneration of the epithelium. Their long life, lineage plasticity, and proliferative potential underlie the necessity for tight homeostatic regulation of the ISC compartment. In that context, the guanylate cyclase C (GUCY2C) receptor and its paracrine ligands regulate intestinal epithelial homeostasis, including proliferation, lineage commitment, and DNA damage repair. However, a role for this axis in maintaining ISCs remains unknown. Transgenic mice enabling analysis of ISCs (Lgr5-GFP) in the context of GUCY2C elimination (Gucy2c-/-) were combined with immunodetection techniques and pharmacological treatments to define the role of the GUCY2C signaling axis in supporting ISCs. ISCs were reduced in Gucy2c-/- mice, associated with loss of active Lgr5+ cells but a reciprocal increase in reserve Bmi1+ cells. GUCY2C was expressed in crypt base Lgr5+ cells in which it mediates canonical cyclic (c) GMPdependent signaling. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, typically absent from ISCs, was elevated throughout the crypt base in Gucy2c-/- mice. The chemical chaperone tauroursodeoxycholic acid resolved this ER stress and restored the balance of ISCs, an effect mimicked by the GUCY2C effector 8Br-cGMP. Reduced ISCs in Gucy2c-/-mice was associated with greater epithelial injury and impaired regeneration following sub-lethal doses of irradiation. These observations suggest that GUCY2C provides homeostatic signals that modulate ER stress and cell vulnerability as part of the machinery contributing to the integrity of ISCs. © Kraft et al.

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