Alternative promoter usage generates long and short isoforms (DCLK1-L and DCLK1-S) of doublecortin-like kinase-1 (DCLK1). Tight control of Notch signaling is important to prevent and restitute inflammation in the intestine. Our aim was to investigate whether Notch1-DCLK1 axis regulates the mucosal immune responses to infection and whether this is phenocopied in human models of colitis. In the FFPE (formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded) sections prepared from the colons of ulcerative colitis (UC) and immune-mediated colitis (IRAEC) patients, expression of DCLK1 isoforms correlated positively with Notch1 and negatively with a transcriptional repressor, FoxD3 (Forkhead Box D3). DCLK1 protein staining in these sections was predominantly sub-epithelial (stromal) wherein DCLK1 co-localized with NICD, CD68, CD11c, and neutrophil elastase (NE). NE also co-stained with Citrullinated-H3 indicating the presence of neutrophil extracellular traps. In human neutrophils, elevated levels of DCLK1-S, CXCL-10, Ly6G, MPO, NE, and Notch1/2 in LPS-treated cells were inhibited when LPS was added in conjunction with Notch blocker dibenzazepine (DBZ; LPS + DBZ group). In CR-infected Rag1-/- mice, higher levels of DCLK1 in the colonic crypts were inhibited when mice received DBZ for 10 days coincident with significant dysbiosis, barrier disruption, and colitis. Concurrently, DCLK1 immunoreactivity shifted toward the stroma in CR + DBZ mice with predominance of DCLK1-S that coincided with higher Notch1 levels. Upon antibiotic treatment, partial restoration of crypt DCLK1, reduction in MPO activity, and increased survival followed. When intestinal epithelial cell-specific Dclk1-knockout (Dclk1ΔIEC) or Dclk1ΔIEC;Rag1-/- double knockout (DKO) mice were infected with CR and given a single dose of DBZ, they developed barrier defect and severe colitis with higher levels of stromal DCLK1-S, Ly6G, NE, and Notch1. We therefore propose that, by regulating the mucosal immune responses, the Notch-DCLK1 axis may be integral to the development of murine or human colitis.
Cell Death Discov
Roy BC, Ahmed I, Stubbs J, et al. DCLK1 isoforms and aberrant Notch signaling in the regulation of human and murine colitis. Cell Death Discov. 2021;7(1):169. Published 2021 Jun 17. doi:10.1038/s41420-021-00526-9