Using the small intestine enterocyte Caco-2 cell model, sucrase-isomaltase (SI, the mucosal α-glucosidase complex) expression and modification were examined relative to exposure to different mono- and disaccharide glycemic carbohydrates. Caco-2/TC7 cells were grown on porous supports to post-confluence for complete differentiation, and dietary carbohydrate molecules of glucose, sucrose (disaccharide of glucose and fructose), maltose (disaccharide of two glucoses α-1,4 linked), and isomaltose (disaccharide of two glucoses α-1,6 linked) were used to treat the cells. qRT-PCR results showed that all the carbohydrate molecules induced the expression of the SI gene, though maltose (and isomaltose) showed an incremental increase in mRNA levels over time that glucose did not. Western blot analysis of the SI protein revealed that only maltose treatment induced a higher molecular weight band (Mw ~245 kDa), also at higher expression level, suggesting post-translational processing of SI, and more importantly a sensing of maltose. Further work is warranted regarding this putative sensing response as a potential control point for starch digestion and glucose generation in the small intestine.
Keywords: maltose; mucosal α-glucosidases; sensing; small intestine; sucrase-isomaltase.