Crohn disease (CD), one of the major chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, occurs anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract with discontinuous transmural inflammation. A number of studies have now demonstrated that genetic predisposition, environmental influences and a dysregulated immune response to the intestinal microflora are involved. Major CD susceptibility pathways uncovered through genome-wide association studies strongly implicate the innate immune response (NOD2), in addition to the more specific acquired T cell response (IL23R, ICOSLG) and autophagy (ATG16L1, IRGM). Examination of the disease-associated microbiome, although complex, has identified several potentially contributory microorganisms, most notably adherent-invasive E.coli strains (AIEC), which have been isolated by independent investigators in both adult and pediatric CD patients. Here we discuss our recent finding that the type-III intermediate filament (IF) protein VIM/vimentin is a novel NOD2 interacting protein that regulates NOD2 activities including inflammatory NFKB1 signaling, autophagy and bacterial handling.
Keywords: AIEC; Crohn disease; NOD2; autophagy; vimentin.