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Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Sep;32(17):3392-402. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00070-12. Epub 2012 Jun 25.

GATA6 is required for proliferation, migration, secretory cell maturation, and gene expression in the mature mouse colon.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Controlled renewal of the epithelium with precise cell distribution and gene expression patterns is essential for colonic function. GATA6 is expressed in the colonic epithelium, but its function in the colon is currently unknown. To define GATA6 function in the colon, we conditionally deleted Gata6 throughout the epithelium of small and large intestines of adult mice. In the colon, Gata6 deletion resulted in shorter, wider crypts, a decrease in proliferation, and a delayed crypt-to-surface epithelial migration rate. Staining techniques and electron microscopy indicated deficient maturation of goblet cells, and coimmunofluorescence demonstrated alterations in specific hormones produced by the endocrine L cells and serotonin-producing cells. Specific colonocyte genes were significantly downregulated. In LS174T, the colonic adenocarcinoma cell line, Gata6 knockdown resulted in a significant downregulation of a similar subset of goblet cell and colonocyte genes, and GATA6 was found to occupy active loci in enhancers and promoters of some of these genes, suggesting that they are direct targets of GATA6. These data demonstrate that GATA6 is necessary for proliferation, migration, lineage maturation, and gene expression in the mature colonic epithelium.

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