Enteroendocrine Progenitor Cell-Enriched miR-7 Regulates Intestinal Epithelial Proliferation in an Xiap-Dependent Manner

Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020;9(3):447-464. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2019.11.001. Epub 2019 Nov 19.


Background & aims: The enteroendocrine cell (EEC) lineage is important for intestinal homeostasis. It was recently shown that EEC progenitors contribute to intestinal epithelial growth and renewal, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. MicroRNAs are under-explored along the entire EEC lineage trajectory, and comparatively little is known about their contributions to intestinal homeostasis.

Methods: We leverage unbiased sequencing and eight different mouse models and sorting methods to identify microRNAs enriched along the EEC lineage trajectory. We further characterize the functional role of EEC progenitor-enriched miRNA, miR-7, by in vivo dietary study as well as ex vivo enteroid in mice.

Results: First, we demonstrate that miR-7 is highly enriched across the entire EEC lineage trajectory and is the most enriched miRNA in EEC progenitors relative to Lgr5+ intestinal stem cells. Next, we show in vivo that in EEC progenitors miR-7 is dramatically suppressed under dietary conditions that favor crypt division and suppress EEC abundance. We then demonstrate by functional assays in mouse enteroids that miR-7 exerts robust control of growth, as determined by budding (proxy for crypt division), EdU and PH3 staining, and likely regulates EEC abundance also. Finally, we show by single-cell RNA sequencing analysis that miR-7 regulates Xiap in progenitor/stem cells and we demonstrate in enteroids that the effects of miR-7 on mouse enteroid growth depend in part on Xiap and Egfr signaling.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates for the first time that EEC progenitor cell-enriched miR-7 is altered by dietary perturbations and that it regulates growth in enteroids via intact Xiap and Egfr signaling.

Keywords: Enteroendocrine Lineage; Enteroid; Proliferation; Small Intestine; miR-7.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Computational Biology
  • Enteroendocrine Cells / physiology*
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins / genetics*
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Models, Animal
  • Organoids
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • RNA-Seq
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Stem Cells / physiology*


  • Birc4 protein, mouse
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • MIRN7 microRNA, mouse
  • MicroRNAs
  • EGFR protein, mouse
  • ErbB Receptors