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Int Immunol. 2004 Jan;16(1):91-9.

Cell culture modeling of specialized tissue: identification of genes expressed specifically by follicle-associated epithelium of Peyer's patch by expression profiling of Caco-2/Raji co-cultures.

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Digital Gene Technologies, Inc., La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Peyer's patch follicle-associated epithelium (FAE) regulates intestinal antigen access to the immune system in part through the action of microfold (M) cells which mediate transcytosis of antigens and microorganisms. Studies on M cells have been limited by the difficulties in isolating purified cells, so we applied TOGA mRNA expression profiling to identify genes associated with the in vitro induction of M cell-like features in Caco-2 cells and tested them against normal Peyer's patch tissue for their expression in FAE. Among the genes identified by this method, laminin beta3, a matrix metalloproteinase and a tetraspan family member, showed enriched expression in FAE of mouse Peyer's patches. Moreover, the C. perfringens enterotoxin receptor (CPE-R) appeared to be expressed more strongly by UEA-1(+) M cells relative to neighboring FAE. Expression of the tetraspan TM4SF3 gene and CPE-R was also confirmed in human Peyer's patch FAE. Our results suggest that while the Caco-2 differentiation model is associated with some functional features of M cells, the genes induced may instead reflect the acquisition of a more general FAE phenotype, sharing only select features with the M cell subset.

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