Postnatal enlargement of the mammalian intestine comprises cylindrical and luminal growth, associated with crypt fission and crypt/villus hyperplasia, respectively, which subsequently predominate before and after weaning. The bipartite adhesion G protein-coupled receptor CD97 shows an expression gradient along the crypt-villus axis in the normal human intestine. We here report that transgenic mice overexpressing CD97 in intestinal epithelial cells develop an upper megaintestine. Intestinal enlargement involves an increase in length and diameter but does not affect microscopic morphology, as typical for cylindrical growth. The megaintestine is acquired after birth and before weaning, independent of the genotype of the mother, excluding altered availability of milk constituents as driving factor. CD97 overexpression does not regulate intestinal growth factors, stem cell markers, and Wnt signaling, which contribute to epithelial differentiation and renewal, nor does it affect suckling-to-weaning transition. Consistent with augmented cylindrical growth, suckling but not adult transgenic mice show enlarged crypts and thus more crypt fissions caused by a transient increase of the crypt transit-amplifying zone. Intestinal enlargement by CD97 requires its seven-span transmembrane/cytoplasmic C-terminal fragment but not the N-terminal fragment binding partner CD55. In summary, ectopic expression of CD97 in intestinal epithelial cells provides a unique model for intestinal cylindrical growth occurring in breast-fed infants.
Adhesion G protein-coupled receptors (aGPCRs) are two-subunit molecules, consisting of an adhesive extracellular ? subunit that couples noncovalently to a seven-transmembrane ? subunit. The cooperation between the two subunits and the effect of endogenous ligands on the functioning of aGPCRs is poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the interaction between the pan-leukocyte aGPCR CD97 and its ligand CD55. We found that leukocytes from CD55-deficient mice express significantly increased levels of cell surface CD97 that normalized after transfer into wild-type mice because of contact with CD55 on both leukocytes and stromal cells. Downregulation of both CD97 subunits occurred within minutes after first contact with CD55 in vivo, which correlated with an increase in plasma levels of soluble CD97. In vitro, downregulation of CD97 on CD55-deficient leukocytes cocultured with wild-type blood cells was strictly dependent on shear stress. In vivo, CD55-mediated downregulation of CD97 required an intact circulation and was not observed on cells that lack contact with the blood stream, such as microglia. Notably, de novo ligation of CD97 did not activate signaling molecules constitutively engaged by CD97 in cancer cells, such as ERK and protein kinase B/Akt. We conclude that CD55 downregulates CD97 surface expression on circulating leukocytes by a process that requires physical forces, but based on current evidence does not induce receptor signaling. This regulation can restrict CD97-CD55-mediated cell adhesion to tissue sites.
Changes in the expression and activation status of Ras proteins are thought to contribute to the pathological phenotype of stromal fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) in rheumatoid arthritis, a prototypical immune-mediated inflammatory disease. Broad inhibition of Ras and related proteins has shown protective effects in animal models of arthritis, but each of the Ras family homologues (ie, H-, K-, and N-Ras) makes distinct contributions to cellular activation. We examined the expression of each Ras protein in synovial tissue and FLS obtained from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of inflammatory arthritis. Each Ras protein was expressed in synovial tissue and cultured FLS. Each homolog was also activated following FLS stimulation with tumor necrosis factor-? or interleukin (IL)-1?. Constitutively active mutants of each Ras protein enhanced IL-1?-induced FLS matrix metalloproteinase-3 production, while only active H-Ras enhanced IL-8 production. Gene silencing demonstrated that each Ras protein contributed to IL-1?-dependent IL-6 production, while H-Ras and N-Ras supported IL-1?-dependent matrix metalloproteinase-3 and IL-8 production, respectively. The overlap in contributions of Ras homologues to FLS activation suggests that broad targeting of Ras GTPases in vivo suppresses global inflammation and joint destruction in arthritis. Consistent with this, simultaneous silencing of H-Ras, K-Ras, and N-Ras expression significantly reduces inflammation and joint destruction in murine collagen-induced arthritis, while specific targeting of N-Ras alone is less effective in providing clinical benefits.
CD55 (decay-accelerating factor) is a complement-regulatory protein highly expressed on fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS). CD55 is also a ligand for CD97, an adhesion-type G protein-coupled receptor abundantly present on leukocytes. Little is known regarding the regulation of CD55 expression in FLS.
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