Mechanism of TNF-α modulation of Caco-2 intestinal epithelial tight junction barrier: Role of myosin light-chain kinase protein expression

Thomas Y. Ma, Michel A. Boivin, Dongmei Ye, Ali Pedram, Hamid M. Said

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

306 Scopus citations

Abstract

TNF-α-induced increase in intestinal epithelial tight junction (TJ) permeability has been proposed as one of the proinflammatory mechanisms contributing to the intestinal inflammation. The intracellular mechanisms involved in the TNF-α-induced increase in intestinal TJ permeability remain unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the possibility that the TNF-α-induced increase in intestinal epithelial TJ permeability was regulated by myosin light-chain kinase (MLCK) protein expression, using an in vitro intestinal epithelial model system consisting of the filter-grown Caco-2 intestinal epithelial monolayers. TNF-α (10 ng/ml) produced a time-dependent increase in Caco-2 MLCK expression. The TNF-α increase in MLCK protein expression paralleled the increase in Caco-2 TJ permeability, and the inhibition of the TNF-α-induced MLCK expression (by cycloheximide) prevented the increase in Caco-2 TJ permeability, suggesting that MLCK expression may be required for the increase in Caco-2 TJ permeability. The TNF-α increase in MLCK protein expression was preceded by an increase in MLCK mRNA expression but not an alteration in MLCK protein degradation. Actinomycin-D prevented the TNF-α increase in MLCK mRNA expression and the subsequent increase in MLCK protein expression and Caco-2 TJ permeability, suggesting that the increase in MLCK mRNA transcription led to the increase in MLCK expression. The TNF-α increase in MLCK protein expression was also associated with an increase in Caco-2 MLCK activity. The cycloheximide inhibition of MLCK protein expression prevented the TNF-α increase in MLCK activity and Caco-2 TJ permeability. Moreover, inhibitors of MLCK, Mg 2+-myosin ATPase, and metabolic energy prevented the TNF-α increase in Caco-2 TJ permeability, suggesting that the increase in MLCK activity was required for the TNF-α-induced opening of the Caco-2 TJ barrier. In conclusion, our results indicate for the first time that I) the TNF-α increase in Caco-2 TJ permeability was mediated by an increase in MLCK protein expression, 2) the increase in MLCK protein expression was regulated by an increase in MLCK mRNA transcription, and 3) the increase in Caco-2 TJ permeability required MLCK protein expression-dependent increase in MLCK activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G422-G430
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Volume288
Issue number3 51-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)

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