Prc2 regulated atoh8 is a regulator of intestinal microfold cell (M cell) differentiation

Joel Johnson George, Laura Martin‐Diaz, Markus J.T. Ojanen, Rosa Gasa, Marko Pesu, Keijo Viiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Downloads (Pure)


Intestinal microfold cells (M cells) are a dynamic lineage of epithelial cells that initiate mucosal immunity in the intestine. They are responsible for the uptake and transcytosis of microor-ganisms, pathogens, and other antigens in the gastrointestinal tract. A mature M cell expresses a receptor Gp2 which binds to pathogens and aids in the uptake. Due to the rarity of these cells in the intestine, their development and differentiation remain yet to be fully understood. We recently demonstrated that polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) is an epigenetic regulator of M cell de-velopment, and 12 novel transcription factors including Atoh8 were revealed to be regulated by the PRC2. Here, we show that Atoh8 acts as a regulator of M cell differentiation; the absence of Atoh8 led to a significant increase in the number of Gp2+ mature M cells and other M cell‐associated markers such as Spi‐B and Sox8. In vitro organoid analysis of RankL treated organoid showed an increase of mature marker GP2 expression and other M cell‐associated markers. Atoh8 null mice showed an increase in transcytosis capacity of luminal antigens. An increase in M cell population has been previously reported to be detrimental to mucosal immunity because some pathogens like orally acquired prions have been able to exploit the transcytosis capacity of M cells to infect the host; mice with an increased population of M cells are also susceptible to Salmonella infections. Our study here demonstrates that PRC2 regulated Atoh8 is one of the factors that regulate the population density of intestinal M cell in the Peyer’s patch.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9355
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Gut immunity
  • M cells
  • Peyer’s patch
  • RankL
  • Transcytosis

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Prc2 regulated atoh8 is a regulator of intestinal microfold cell (M cell) differentiation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this