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Developmental biology

Inducible intestine-specific deletion of Krüppel-like factor 5 is characterized by a regenerative response in adult mouse colon.


PMID 24440658

Abstract

Krüppel-like factor 5 (KLF5) is a pro-proliferative transcriptional regulator primarily expressed in the intestinal crypt epithelial cells. Constitutive intestine-specific deletion of Klf5 is neonatal lethal suggesting a crucial role for KLF5 in intestinal development and homeostasis. We have previously shown Klf5 to play an active role regulating intestinal tumorigenesis. Here we examine the effect of inducible intestine-specific deletion of Klf5 in adult mice. Klf5 is lost from the intestine beginning at day 3 after the start of a 5-day treatment with the inducer tamoxifen. Although the mice have no significant weight loss or lethality, the colonic tissue shows signs of epithelial distress starting at day 3 following induction. Accompanying the morphological changes is a significant loss of proliferative crypt epithelial cells as revealed by BrdU or Ki67 staining at days 3 and 5 after start of tamoxifen. We also observed a loss of goblet cells from the colon and Paneth cells from the small intestine upon induced deletion of Klf5. In addition, loss of Klf5 from the colonic epithelium is accompanied by a regenerative response that coincides with an expansion in the zone of Sox9 expression along the crypt axis. At day 11, both proliferation and Sox9 expression return to baseline levels. Microarray and quantitative PCR analyses reveal an up-regulation of several regeneration-associated genes (Reg1A, Reg3G and Reg3B) and down-regulation of many Klf5 targets (Ki-67, cyclin B, Cdc2 and cyclin D1). Sox9 and Reg1A protein levels are also increased upon Klf5 loss. Lentiviral-mediated knockdown of KLF5 and exogenous expression of KLF5 in colorectal cancer cell lines confirm that Sox9 expression is negatively regulated by KLF5. Furthermore, ChIP assays reveal a direct association of KLF5 with both the Sox9 and Reg1A promoters. We have shown that disruption of epithelial homeostasis due to Klf5 loss from the adult colon is followed by a regenerative response led by Sox9 and the Reg family of proteins. Our study demonstrates that adult mouse colonic tissue undergoes acute physiological changes to accommodate the loss of Klf5 withstanding epithelial damage further signifying importance of Klf5 in colonic homeostasis.