The insect peptide CopA3 increases colonic epithelial cell proliferation and mucosal barrier function to prevent inflammatory responses in the gut
DH Kim, etc
The epithelial cells of the gut form a physical barrier against the luminal contents. The collapse of this barrier causes inflammation, and its therapeutic restoration can protect the gut against inflammation. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) enhances mucosal barrier function and increases colonocyte proliferation, thereby ameliorating inflammatory responses in the gut. Based on our previous finding that the insect peptide, CopA3, promotes neuronal growth, we herein tested whether CopA3 could increase the cell proliferation of colonocytes, enhance mucosal barrier function, and ameliorate gut inflammation. Our results revealed that CopA3 significantly increased epithelial cell proliferation in mouse colonic crypts and also enhanced colonic epithelial barrier function. Moreover, CopA3 treatment ameliorated Clostridium difficile toxin A-induced inflammation responses in the mouse small intestine (acute enteritis) and completely blocked inflammatory responses and subsequent lethality in the DSS-induced mouse model of chronic colitis. The marked CopA3-induced increase of colonocyte proliferation was found to require rapid protein degradation of p21Cip1/Waf1, and an in vitro ubiquitination assay revealed that CopA3 directly facilitated ubiquitin ligase activity against p21Cip1/Waf1. Taken together, our findings indicate that the insect peptide, CopA3, prevents gut inflammation by increasing epithelial cell proliferation and mucosal barrier function.