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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2017 May 13;486(4):951-957. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2017.03.135. Epub 2017 Mar 28.

A vesicle trafficking protein αSNAP regulates Paneth cell differentiation in vivo.

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Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.
Department of Cell Biology, Genetics, and Physiology, University of Malaga, Malaga, Spain.
Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA; VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA. Electronic address:


A soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor-attachment protein alpha (αSNAP) is a multifunctional scaffolding protein that regulates intracellular vesicle trafficking and signaling. In cultured intestinal epithelial cells, αSNAP has been shown to be essential for cell survival, motility, and adhesion; however, its physiologic functions in the intestinal mucosa remain unknown. In the present study, we used a mouse with a spontaneous hydrocephalus with hop gait (hyh) mutation of αSNAP to examine the roles of this trafficking protein in regulating intestinal epithelial homeostasis in vivo. Homozygous hyh mice demonstrated decreased expression of αSNAP protein in the intestinal epithelium, but did not display gross abnormalities of epithelial architecture in the colon and ileum. Such αSNAP depletion attenuated differentiation of small intestinal epithelial enteroids ex vivo. Furthermore, αSNAP-deficient mutant animals displayed reduced formation of lysozyme granules in small intestinal crypts and decreased expression of lysozyme and defensins in the intestinal mucosa, which is indicative of defects in Paneth cell differentiation. By contrast, development of Goblet cells, enteroendocrine cells, and assembly of enterocyte apical junctions was not altered in hyh mutant mice. Our data revealed a novel role of αSNAP in the intestinal Paneth cell differentiation in vivo.


Adherens junctions; Intestinal mucosa; Membrane fusion; NAPA; Tight junctions

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