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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Aberrant mucosal mast cell protease expression in the enteric epithelium of nematode-infected mice lacking the integrin alphavbeta6, a transforming growth factor-beta1 activator.

Infection of mice with the nematode Trichinella spiralis triggers recruitment and differentiation of intraepithelial intestinal mucosal mast cells expressing mouse mast cell protease 1 (Mcpt-1), which contributes to expulsion of the parasite. Expression of Mcpt-1 is transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1-dependent in vitro. TGF-beta1, which is secreted within tissues as a biologically inactive complex with latency-associated peptide, requires extracellular modification to become functionally active. The integrin-alpha(nu)beta(6) mediates local activation of TGF-beta(1) in association with epithelia. Using T. spiralis-infected beta(6)(-/-) mice, we show accumulation of mucosal mast cells in the lamina propria of the small intestine with minimal recruitment into the epithelial compartment. This was accompanied by a coordinate reduction in expression of both Mcpt-1 and -2 in the jejunum and increased tryptase expression, whereas Mcpt-9 became completely undetectable. In contrast, the cytokine stem cell factor, a regulator of mast cell differentiation and survival, was significantly up-regulated in T. spiralis-infected beta(6)(-/-) mice compared with infected beta(6)(+/+) controls. Despite these changes, beta(6)(-/-) mice still appeared to expel the worms normally. We postulate that compromised TGF-beta(1) activation within the gastrointestinal epithelial compartment is a major, but not the only, contributing factor to the observed changes in mucosal mast cell protease and epithelial cytokine expression in beta(6)(-/-) mice.[1]


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