Transit-Amplifying Cells Coordinate Changes in Intestinal Epithelial Cell-Type Composition

Dev Cell. 2021 Feb 8;56(3):356-365.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2020.12.020. Epub 2021 Jan 22.


Renewing tissues have the remarkable ability to continually produce both proliferative progenitor and specialized differentiated cell types. How are complex milieus of microenvironmental signals interpreted to coordinate tissue-cell-type composition? Here, we investigate the responses of intestinal epithelium to individual and paired perturbations across eight epithelial signaling pathways. Using a high-throughput approach that combines enteroid monolayers and quantitative imaging, we identified conditions that enrich for specific cell types as well as interactions between pathways. Importantly, we found that modulation of transit-amplifying cell proliferation changes the ratio of differentiated secretory to absorptive cell types. These observations highlight an underappreciated role for transit-amplifying cells in the tuning of differentiated cell-type composition.

Keywords: cell-type composition; high-throughput platform; intestinal epithelium; lineage model; organoid; systems biology.

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 Proliferation
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Intestines / cytology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Biological
  • Organoids / cytology
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • Signal Transduction


  • Interleukin-4
  • ErbB Receptors