Background & aims: The transition of gastric epithelial mucous neck cells (NCs) to digestive enzyme-secreting zymogenic cells (ZCs) involves an increase in rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and formation of many large secretory vesicles. The transcription factor MIST1 is required for granulogenesis of ZCs. The transcription factor XBP1 binds the Mist1 promoter and induces its expression in vitro and expands the ER in other cell types. We investigated whether XBP1 activates Mist1 to regulate ZC differentiation.
Methods: Xbp1 was inducibly deleted in mice using a tamoxifen/Cre-loxP system; effects on ZC size and structure (ER and granule formation) and gastric differentiation were studied and quantified for up to 13 months after deletion using morphologic, immunofluorescence, quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, and immunoblot analyses. Interactions between XBP1 and the Mist1 promoter were studied by chromatin immunoprecipitation from mouse stomach and in XBP1-transfected gastric cell lines.
Results: Tamoxifen-induced deletion of Xbp1 (Xbp1Δ) did not affect survival of ZCs but prevented formation of their structure. Xbp1Δ ZCs shrank 4-fold, compared with those of wild-type mice, with granulogenesis and cell shape abnormalities and disrupted rough ER. XBP1 was required and sufficient for transcriptional activation of MIST1. ZCs that developed in the absence of XBP1 induced ZC markers (intrinsic factor, pepsinogen C) but showed abnormal retention of progenitor NC markers.
Conclusions: XBP1 controls the transcriptional regulation of ZC structural development; it expands the lamellar rough ER and induces MIST1 expression to regulate formation of large granules. XBP1 is also required for loss of mucous NC markers as ZCs form.
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