EFHD2 suppresses intestinal inflammation by blocking intestinal epithelial cell TNFR1 internalization and cell death

Nat Commun. 2024 Feb 12;15(1):1282. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-45539-x.


TNF acts as one pathogenic driver for inducing intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) death and substantial intestinal inflammation. How the IEC death is regulated to physiologically prevent intestinal inflammation needs further investigation. Here, we report that EF-hand domain-containing protein D2 (EFHD2), highly expressed in normal intestine tissues but decreased in intestinal biopsy samples of ulcerative colitis patients, protects intestinal epithelium from TNF-induced IEC apoptosis. EFHD2 inhibits TNF-induced apoptosis in primary IECs and intestinal organoids (enteroids). Mice deficient of Efhd2 in IECs exhibit excessive IEC death and exacerbated experimental colitis. Mechanistically, EFHD2 interacts with Cofilin and suppresses Cofilin phosphorylation, thus blocking TNF receptor I (TNFR1) internalization to inhibit IEC apoptosis and consequently protecting intestine from inflammation. Our findings deepen the understanding of EFHD2 as the key regulator of membrane receptor trafficking, providing insight into death receptor signals and autoinflammatory diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Actin Depolymerizing Factors / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Colitis* / pathology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I* / genetics


  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I
  • Actin Depolymerizing Factors
  • EFHD2 protein, human
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • EFHD2 protein, mouse