Villin-1 and Gelsolin Regulate Changes in Actin Dynamics That Affect Cell Survival Signaling Pathways and Intestinal Inflammation

Swati Roy, Amin Esmaeilniakooshkghazi, Srinivas Patnaik, Yaohong Wang, Sudeep P. George, Afzal Ahrorov, Jason K. Hou, Alan J. Herron, Hiromi Sesaki, Seema Khurana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Cell stress signaling pathways result in phosphorylation of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 subunit alpha (EIF2S1 or EIF2A), which affects regulation of protein translation. Translation reprogramming mitigates stress by activating pathways that result in autophagy and cell death, to eliminate damaged cells. Actin is modified during stress and EIF2A is dephosphorylated to restore homeostasis. It is not clear how actin affects EIF2A signaling. We studied the actin-binding proteins villin 1 (VIL1) and gelsolin (GSN) in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) to determine whether they respond to cell stress response and affect signaling pathways. Methods: We performed studies with mice with disruptions in Vil1 and Gsn (double-knockout mice). Wild-type (WT) mice either were or were not (controls) exposed to cell stressors such as tumor necrosis factor and adherent-invasive Escherichia coli. Distal ileum tissues were collected from mice; IECs and enteroids were cultured and analyzed by histology, immunoblots, phalloidin staining, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, and flow cytometry. HT-29 cells were incubated with cell stressors such as DTT, IFN, and adherent-invasive E coli or control agents; cells were analyzed by immunoblots and quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Green fluorescent protein and green fluorescent protein tagged mutant EIF2A were expressed from a lentiviral vector. The mouse immunity-related GTPase (IRGM1) was overexpressed in embryonic fibroblasts from dynamin1 like (DNM1L) protein-knockout mice or their WT littermates. IRGM1 was overexpressed in embryonic fibroblasts from receptor interacting serine/threonine kinase 1-knockout mice or their WT littermates. Human IRGM was overexpressed in human epithelial cell lines incubated with the DNM1L-specific inhibitor Mdivi-1. Mitochondria were analyzed by semi-quantitative confocal imaging. We performed immunohistochemical analyses of distal ileum tissues from 6–8 patients with Crohn's disease (CD) and 6–8 individuals without CD (controls). Results: In IECs exposed to cell stressors, EIF2A signaling reduced expression of VIL1 and GSN. However, VIL1 and GSN were required for dephosphorylation of EIF2A and recovery from cell stress. In mouse and human IECs, prolonged, unresolved stress was accompanied by continued down-regulation of VIL1 and GSN, resulting in constitutive phosphorylation of EIF2A and overexpression of IRGM1 (or IRGM), which regulates autophagy. Overexpression of IRGM1 (or IRGM) induced cell death by necroptosis, accompanied by release of damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). In double-knockout mice, constitutive phosphorylation of EIF2A and over-expression of IRGM1 resulted in spontaneous ileitis that resembled human CD in symptoms and histology. Distal ileum tissues from patients with CD had lower levels of VIL1 and GSN, increased phosphorylation of EIF2A, increased levels of IRGM and necroptosis, and increased release of nuclear DAMPs compared with controls. Conclusions: In studies of intestinal epithelial tissues from patients with CD and embryonic fibroblasts from mice, along with enteroids and human IEC lines, we found that induction of cell stress alters the cytoskeleton in IECs via changes in the actin-binding proteins VIL1 and GSN. Acute changes in actin dynamics increase IEC survival, whereas long-term changes in actin dynamics lead to IEC death and intestinal inflammation. IRGM regulates necroptosis and release of DAMPs to induce gastrointestinal inflammation, linking IRGM activity with CD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1405-1420.e2
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • Cytoskeleton
  • IBD
  • Immune Response
  • TNF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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