Intestinal trefoil factor confers colonic epithelial resistance to apoptosis

D. R. Taupin, K. Kinoshita, D. K. Podolsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Intestinal trefoil factor (ITF) is an essential regulator of colonic epithelial restitution, the rapid migration of colonocytes over mucosal wounds. High levels of ITF are frequently present in colorectal cancers and derived cell lines. Mucosal restitution requires the detachment of epithelium from substrate, which would be expected to induce apoptosis. However, mice deficient in ITF showed an increase in colonocyte apoptosis unaccompanied by changes in expression of receptor-related (TNFR/Fas) or stress-related (Bcl- family) cell death regulators. An ITF-expressing colonic (HT-ITF1) cell line was resistant to apoptosis induced by serum starvation and ceramide. Exogenous ITF also protected another human colonic carcinoma-derived cell line (HCT116) and a nontransformed rat intestinal epithelial cell line (IEC- 6) from apoptosis. This effect was abrogated by wortmannin and tyrphostin A25, indicating the potential involvement of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor activation. Expression of phosphorylated Akt, which lies downstream of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activation, was elevated in this HT-29-ITF line. p53-dependent cell death in the AGS human gastric cancer cell line after etoposide was similarly inhibited by transient expression of ITF but not a C-terminal truncation mutant of ITF, and it required functional phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and EGF receptor. These findings support a central role for ITF in the maintenance of intestinal mucosal continuity, and conversely demonstrate the potential for ITF expression to confer resistance of colorectal tumors to therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-804
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 18 2000


  • Cell adhesion
  • Cell survival
  • Colonic neoplasm
  • Cultured tumor cells
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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