Knockdown of protein tyrosine phosphatase nonreceptor type 2 (PTPN2) exaggerates IFN-γ-induced intestinal barrier defects, but mice constitutively lacking PTPN2 in epithelial cells (PTPN2xVilCre mice) do not show changes in epithelial function or enhanced susceptibility to experimental colitis. Here, we investigated whether PTPN2 modulates the expression of related tyrosine phosphatases.
PTPN2 knockdown in HT-29 cells was induced using siRNA constructs. Acute colitis in PTPN2xVilCre mice was induced by 2% dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) in drinking water for 7 days. Colitis-associated tumors were induced by injection of azoxymethane prior to treatment with DSS for 3 consecutive cycles.
In HT-29 cells, PTPN2 depletion resulted in enhanced mRNA expression of PTPN11 and PTPN23 and in parallel to upregulation of IL-18 mRNA upon treatment with TNF for 24 h. DSS treatment of PTPN2-deficient mice resulted in a strong induction of Ptpn23 mRNA in colon tissue in vivo. In the tumor model, Ptpn23 mRNA was again clearly upregulated in nontumor tissue from PTPN2-deficient mice; however, this was not observed in tumor tissue.
Our experiments show that PTPN23 function might, at least partially, compensate lack of PTPN2 in epithelial cells. Upregulation of PTPN23 might therefore crucially contribute to the lack of a colitis phenotype in PTPN2-VilCre mice.