Decrease in miR-148a expression during initiation of chief cell transdifferentiation
- PMID: 31473306 [PubMed].
Gastric chief cells differentiate from mucous neck cells and develop their mature state at the base of oxyntic glands with expression of secretory zymogen granules. Following parietal cell loss, chief cells transdifferentiate into mucous cell metaplasia, designated spasmolytic polypeptide-expressing metaplasia (SPEM), which is considered a candidate precursor of gastric cancer. We examined the range of microRNA (miRNA) expression in chief cells and identified miRNAs involved in chief cell transdifferentiation into SPEM. Among them, miR-148a was strongly and specifically expressed in chief cells and significantly decreased during the process of chief cell transdifferentiation. Interestingly, suppression of miR-148a in a conditionally immortalized chief cell line induced upregulation of CD44 variant 9 (CD44v9), one of the transcripts expressed at an early stage of SPEM development, and DNA methyltransferase 1 (Dnmt1), an established target of miR-148a. Immunostaining analyses showed that Dnmt1 was upregulated in SPEM cells as well as in chief cells before the emergence of SPEM in mouse models of acute oxyntic atrophy using either DMP-777 or L635. In the cascade of events that leads to transdifferentiation, miR-148a was downregulated after acute oxyntic atrophy either in xCT knockout mice or after sulfasalazine inhibition of xCT. These findings suggest that the alteration of miR-148a expression is an early event in the process of chief cell transdifferentiation into SPEM.