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Cellular Plasticity of Defa4Cre-Expressing Paneth Cells in Response to Notch Activation and Intestinal Injury.

Cellular and molecular gastroenterology and hepatology (2019-03-05)
Jennifer C Jones, Constance D Brindley, Nicholas H Elder, Martin G Myers, Michael W Rajala, Christopher M Dekaney, Eoin N McNamee, Mark R Frey, Noah F Shroyer, Peter J Dempsey

Loss of leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5-positive crypt base columnar cells provides permissive conditions for different facultative stem cell populations to dedifferentiate and repopulate the stem cell compartment. In this study, we used a defensin α4-Cre recombinase (Defa4Cre) line to define the potential of Paneth cells to dedifferentiate and contribute to intestinal stem cell (ISC) maintenance during normal homeostasis and after intestinal injury. Small intestine and enteroids from Defa4Cre;Rosa26 tandem dimer Tomato (tdTomato), a red fluoresent protein, (or Rosa26 Enhanced Yellow Fluorescent Protein (EYFP)) reporter, Notch gain-of-function (Defa4Cre;Rosa26 Notch Intracellular Domain (NICD)-ires-nuclear Green Fluorescent Protein (nGFP) and Defa4Cre;Rosa26reverse tetracycline transactivator-ires Enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein (EGFP);TetONICD), A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase domain-containing protein 10 (ADAM10) loss-of-function (Defa4Cre;ADAM10flox/flox), and Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) inactivation (Defa4Cre;APCflox/flox) mice were analyzed. Doxorubicin treatment was used as an acute intestinal injury model. Lineage tracing, proliferation, and differentiation were assessed in vitro and in vivo. Defa4Cre-expressing cells are fated to become mature Paneth cells and do not contribute to ISC maintenance during normal homeostasis in vivo. However, spontaneous lineage tracing was observed in enteroids, and fluorescent-activated cell sorter-sorted Defa4Cre-marked cells showed clonogenic enteroid growth. Notch activation in Defa4Cre-expressing cells caused dedifferentiation to multipotent ISCs in vivo and was required for adenoma formation. ADAM10 deletion had no significant effect on crypt homeostasis. However, after acute doxorubicin-induced injury, Defa4Cre-expressing cells contributed to regeneration in an ADAM10-Notch-dependent manner. Our studies have shown that Defa4Cre-expressing Paneth cells possess cellular plasticity, can dedifferentiate into multipotent stem cells upon Notch activation, and can contribute to intestinal regeneration in an acute injury model.