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J Biol Chem. 2017 Sep 15;292(37):15426-15433. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.788596. Epub 2017 Jul 31.

Commensal microbiota-induced microRNA modulates intestinal epithelial permeability through the small GTPase ARF4.

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From the College of Bioresource Sciences, Nihon University, 1866 Kameino, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa 252-0880, Japan.
From the College of Bioresource Sciences, Nihon University, 1866 Kameino, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa 252-0880, Japan


The intestinal tract contains many commensal bacteria that modulate various physiological host functions. Dysbiosis of commensal bacteria triggers dysfunction of the intestinal epithelial barrier, leading to the induction or aggravation of intestinal inflammation. To elucidate whether microRNA plays a role in commensal microbiome-dependent intestinal epithelial barrier regulation, we compared transcripts in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) from conventional and germ-free mice and found that commensal bacteria induced the expression of miR-21-5p in IECs. miR-21-5p increased intestinal epithelial permeability and up-regulated ADP ribosylation factor 4 (ARF4), a small GTPase, in the IEC line Caco-2. We also found that ARF4 expression was up-regulated upon suppression of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and programmed cell death 4 (PDCD4), which are known miR-21-5p targets, by RNAi. Furthermore, ARF4 expression in epithelial cells of the large intestine was higher in conventional mice than in germ-free mice. ARF4 suppression in the IEC line increased the expression of tight junction proteins and decreased intestinal epithelial permeability. These results indicate that commensal microbiome-dependent miR-21-5p expression in IECs regulates intestinal epithelial permeability via ARF4, which may therefore represent a target for preventing or managing dysfunction of the intestinal epithelial barrier.


commensal microbiota; inflammation; intestinal epithelium; microRNA (miRNA); permeability; tight junction

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