M cells act like "conveyor belts," ingesting bacteria and transporting substances from the gut into Peyer's patches, specialized tissues resembling lymph nodes in the intestines. Better knowledge of M cells' properties could aid research on oral vaccines and inflammatory bowel diseases.
A team of researchers at Emory University School of Medicine and RIKEN Research Center for Allergy and Immunology in Japan has identified the gene Spi-B as responsible for the differentiation of M cells.
The results are published Sunday, June 17 in the journal Nature Immunology.
"This discovery could really unlock a lot of information about the sequence of events needed for M cells to develop and what makes them distinctive," says co-author Ifor Williams, MD, PhD, associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. "M cells have been difficult to study because they are relatively rare, they are only found within the Peyer's patches and can't be grown in isolation."
Scientists at RIKEN, led by senior author Hiroshi Ohno, MD, PhD, teamed up with Williams' laboratory, taking advantage of a discovery by Williams that a protein called RANKL, which is produced by cells in Peyer's patches, can induce M cell differentiation. Research scientist Takashi Kanaya is first author of the paper.
Kanaya and colleagues found that the gene Spi-B is turned on strongly at early stages of M cell differentiation induced by RANKL. Their suspicion of Spi-B's critical role was confirmed when they discovered that mice lacking Spi-B do not have functional M cells, and the cells in the intestines lack several other markers usually found on M cells.
"It was somewhat surprising to find Spi-B expressed in intestinal epithelial cells," Williams says. "Because Spi-B is known to be important for the development of some types of immune cells, it was thought to be expressed only in bone marrow-derived cells."
In fact, the M cells in Spi-B deficient mice can't be restored by a transplant of normal bone marrow, the researchers found. That means Spi-B has to be active in intestinal epithelial cells (not immune cells) for M cells to develop.
Williams says information about M cells – in particular, what molecules they have on their surfaces – could be useful for targeting oral vaccines. Most vaccines in use today are administered by injection. But immunologists believe that in some cases, it may be better to deliver vaccines through the mouth or nose, thus strengthening the body's defenses where an infection starts.
Because M cells are involved in the uptake of bacteria, the study of M cells could also guide development of treatments for inflammatory bowel diseases, in which immune responses to intestinal bacteria appear to become dysregulated.
The research at RIKEN was supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Japan Science and Technology Agency, the Japan Science Society, the Takeda Science Foundation, the Mitsubishi Foundation and the Uehara Memorial Foundation.
The research in Williams' lab is supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (5R01DK064730-07) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
T. Kanaya et al. The Ets Transcription Factor Spi-B Is Essential for the Differentiation of Intestinal Microfold (M) Cells. Nat. Immunol. (2012) doi:10.1038/ni.2352
The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center (http://www.whsc.emory.edu/home/about) of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focusing on teaching, research, health care and public service.
Quinn Eastman | EurekAlert!
Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex
New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.06.2018 | Life Sciences