The gastrointestinal epithelium guides the immune system to differentiate between commensal and pathogenic microbiota, which relies on intimate links with the type I IFN signal pathway. Epithelial cells along the epithelium provide the front line of host defense against pathogen infection in the gastrointestinal tract. Increasing evidence supports the regulatory potential of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in immune defense but their role in regulating intestinal epithelial antimicrobial responses is still unclear. Cryptosporidium, a protozoan parasite that infects intestinal epithelial cells, is an important opportunistic pathogen in AIDS patients and a common cause of diarrhea in young children in developing countries. Recent advances in Cryptosporidium research have revealed a strong type I IFN response in infected intestinal epithelial cells. We previously identified a panel of host cell lncRNAs that are upregulated in murine intestinal epithelial cells following microbial challenge. One of these lncRNAs, NR_033736, is upregulated in intestinal epithelial cells following Cryptosporidium infection and displays a significant suppressive effect on type I IFN-controlled gene transcription in infected host cells. NR_033736 can be assembled into the ISGF3 complex and suppresses type I IFN-mediated gene transcription. Interestingly, upregulation of NR_033736 itself is triggered by the type I IFN signaling. Moreover, NR_033736 modulates epithelial anti-Cryptosporidium defense. Our data suggest that upregulation of NR_033736 provides negative feedback regulation of type I IFN signaling through suppression of type I IFN-controlled gene transcription, and consequently, contributing to fine-tuning of epithelial innate defense against microbial infection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology