Single-Cell RNA Sequencing (scRNA-seq) Identifies L1CAM as a Key Mediator between Epithelial Tuft Cell and Innate Lymphoid Cell in the Colon of Hnrnp I Knockout Mice

Biomedicines. 2023 Oct 9;11(10):2734. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines11102734.


(1) Background: Knockout (KO) of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein I (Hnrnp I) in mouse intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) induced a severe inflammatory response in the colon, followed by hyperproliferation. This study aimed to investigate the epithelial lineage dynamics and cell-cell communications that underlie inflammation and colitis. (2) Methods: Single cells were isolated from the colons of wildtype (WT) and KO mice and used in scRNA-seq. Whole colons were collected for immunofluorescence staining and cytokine assays. (3) Results: from scRNA-seq, the number of DCLK1 + colonic tuft cells was significantly higher in the Hnrnp I KO mice compared to the WT mice. This was confirmed by immunofluorescent staining of DCLK1. The DCLK1 + colonic tuft cells in KO mice developed unique communications with lymphocytes via interactions between surface L1 cell adhesion molecule (L1CAM) and integrins. In the KO mice colons, a significantly elevated level of inflammatory cytokines IL4, IL6, and IL13 were observed, which marks type-2 immune responses directed by group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s). (4) Conclusions: This study demonstrates one critical cellular function of colonic tuft cells, which facilitates type-2 immune responses by communicating with ILC2s via the L1CAM-integrins interaction. This communication promotes pro-inflammatory signaling pathways in ILC2, leading to the increased secretion of inflammatory cytokines.

Keywords: ILCs; L1CAM; colitis; colon; inflammation; tuft.