In mammalian intestines, Notch signaling plays a critical role in mediating cell fate decisions; it promotes the absorptive (or enterocyte) cell fate, while concomitantly inhibiting the secretory cell fate (i.e. goblet, Paneth and enteroendocrine cells). We recently reported that intestinal-specific Kaiso overexpressing mice (Kaiso (Tg) ) exhibited chronic intestinal inflammation and had increased numbers of all three secretory cell types, hinting that Kaiso might regulate Notch signaling in the gut. However, Kaiso's precise role in Notch signaling and whether the Kaiso (Tg) secretory cell fate phenotype was linked to Kaiso-induced inflammation had yet to be elucidated.
Intestines from 3-month old Non-transgenic and Kaiso (Tg) mice were "Swiss" rolled and analysed for the expression of Notch1, Dll-1, Jagged-1, and secretory cell markers by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. To evaluate inflammation, morphological analyses and myeloperoxidase assays were performed on intestines from 3-month old Kaiso (Tg) and control mice. Notch1, Dll-1 and Jagged-1 expression were also assessed in stable Kaiso-depleted colon cancer cells and isolated intestinal epithelial cells using real time PCR and western blotting. To assess Kaiso binding to the DLL1, JAG1 and NOTCH1 promoter regions, chromatin immunoprecipitation was performed on three colon cancer cell lines.
Here we demonstrate that Kaiso promotes secretory cell hyperplasia independently of Kaiso-induced inflammation. Moreover, Kaiso regulates several components of the Notch signaling pathway in intestinal cells, namely, Dll-1, Jagged-1 and Notch1. Notably, we found that in Kaiso (Tg) mice intestines, Notch1 and Dll-1 expression are significantly reduced while Jagged-1 expression is increased. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that Kaiso associates with the DLL1 and JAG1 promoter regions in a methylation-dependent manner in colon carcinoma cell lines, suggesting that these Notch ligands are putative Kaiso target genes.
Here, we provide evidence that Kaiso's effects on intestinal secretory cell fates precede the development of intestinal inflammation in Kaiso (Tg) mice. We also demonstrate that Kaiso inhibits the expression of Dll-1, which likely contributes to the secretory cell phenotype observed in our transgenic mice. In contrast, Kaiso promotes Jagged-1 expression, which may have implications in Notch-mediated colon cancer progression.