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    Well-orchestrated transcriptional programs in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) are essential for maintenance of optimal mucosal barrier functions, whereas the contribution of elongation-related mechanisms to barrier function remains unknown. Here, a combination of genetic and genomic approaches defined a critical role of IEC-intrinsic negative elongation factor (NELF) complex in maintenance of epithelial homeostasis. By direct occupancy at endogenous gene loci, NELF sustained expression of a subset of genes related to junctional integrity. As a result, epithelial NELF deficiency results in subdued levels of these junction-related genes and excessive IEC necroptosis in vivo secondary to commensal microbial invasion. In a colitis model, NELF-deficient mice exhibited severely impaired barrier integrity characterized by increased intestinal permeability and significantly exacerbated intestinal inflammation with lethal consequences. Our findings reveal the protective function of the NELF complex against intestinal damage and inflammation and suggest that elongation represents a biologically important step in defining IEC transcriptome. © 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Society for Mucosal Immunology.


    Jiayao Ou, Xiaoxing Guan, Jiali Wang, Tianjiao Wang, Bin Zhang, Rong Li, Huji Xu, Xiaoyu Hu, Xue-Kun Guo. Epithelial NELF guards intestinal barrier function to ameliorate colitis by maintaining junctional integrity. Mucosal immunology. 2022 Feb;15(2):279-288

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    PMID: 34697434

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