Adherent-invasive Escherichia coli have been suggested to play a pivotal role within the pathophysiology of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Autoantibodies against distinct splicing variants of glycoprotein 2 (GP2), an intestinal receptor of the bacterial adhesin FimH, frequently occur in IBD patients. Hence, we aimed to functionally characterize GP2-directed autoantibodies as a putative part of IBD's pathophysiology. Ex vivo, GP2-splicing variant 4 (GP2#4) but not variant 2 was expressed on intestinal M or L cells with elevated expression patterns in IBD patients. The GP2#4 expression was induced in vitro by tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. The IBD-associated GP2 autoantibodies inhibited FimH binding to GP2#4 and were decreased in anti-TNFα-treated Crohn's disease patients with ileocolonic disease manifestation. In vivo, mice immunized against GP2 before infection with adherent-invasive bacteria displayed exacerbated intestinal inflammation. In summary, autoimmunity against intestinal expressed GP2#4 results in enhanced attachment of flagellated bacteria to the intestinal epithelium and thereby may drive IBD's pathophysiology.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)