The role of Gαq/Gα11 signaling in intestinal epithelial cells

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Intestinal homeostasis and the coordinated actions of digestion, absorption and excretion are tightly regulated by a number of gastrointestinal hormones. Most of them exert their actions through G-protein-coupled receptors. Recently, we showed that the absence of Gαq/Gα11 signaling impaired the maturation of Paneth cells, induced their differentiation toward goblet cells, and affected the regeneration of the colonic mucosa in an experimental model of colitis. Although an immunohistochemical study showed that Gαq/Gα11 were highly expressed in enterocytes, it seemed that enterocytes were not affected in Int-Gq/G11 double knock-out intestine. Thus, we used an intestinal epithelial cell line to examine the role of signaling through Gαq/Gα11 in enterocytes and manipulated the expression level of Gαq and/or Gα11. The proliferation was inhibited in IEC-6 cells that overexpressed Gαq/Gα11 and enhanced in IEC-6 cells in which Gαq/Gα11 was downregulated. The expression of T-cell factor 1 was increased according to the overexpression of Gαq/Gα11. The expression of Notch1 intracellular cytoplasmic domain was decreased by the overexpression of Gαq/Gα11 and increased by the downregulation of Gαq/Gα11. The relative mRNA expression of Muc2, a goblet cell marker, was elevated in a Gαq/Gα11 knock-down experiment. Our findings suggest that Gαq/Gα11-mediated signaling inhibits proliferation and may support a physiological function, such as absorption or secretion, in terminally differentiated enterocytes.




Mashima, H., Watanabe, N., Sekine, M., Matsumoto, S., Asano, T., Yuhashi, K., … Ohnishi, H. (2018). The role of Gαq/Gα11 signaling in intestinal epithelial cells. Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports, 13, 93–98.

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