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J Pathol. 2006 Jun;209(2):240-9.

Murine M cells express annexin V specifically.

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Department of Pathology, Ghent University, and Centre for Medical Genetics, Ghent University Hospital, Belgium.


The specialized epithelium covering the lymphoid follicles of Peyer's patches in the gut mediates transcytosis of antigens to the underlying immune cells, mainly through the membranous, or M, cells. At present, the molecular processes involved in the mucosal immune response, and in antigen transport across the follicle-associated epithelium (FAE) and M cells, are poorly understood. To characterize FAE and M cells, we compared the gene expression profiles of small intestine FAE and villus epithelium (VE) in BALB/c mice by microarray analysis; 91 genes were found to be up-regulated and four down-regulated at least two-fold (p<0.01) in the FAE. The differential expression of a subset of these genes was shown to be confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. Using immunohistochemistry on BALB/c Peyer's patches, cathepsin H and clusterin expression was increased in the FAE compared to the VE. Moreover, we demonstrated M cell-specific expression of annexin V, which has recently been reported to be important in endocytic transport and membrane scaffolding, suggesting that annexin V has a function in M cell-mediated transcytosis.

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