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Lgr5+ telocytes are a signaling source at the intestinal villus tip


Abstract

The intestinal epithelium is a structured organ composed of crypts harboring Lgr5+ stem cells, and villi harboring differentiated cells. Spatial transcriptomics have demonstrated profound zonation of epithelial gene expression along the villus axis, but the mechanisms shaping this spatial variability are unknown. Here, we combine laser capture micro-dissection and single cell RNA sequencing to uncover spatially zonated populations of mesenchymal cells along the crypt-villus axis. These include villus tip telocytes (VTTs) that express Lgr5, a gene previously considered a specific crypt epithelial stem cell marker. VTTs are elongated cells that line the villus tip epithelium and signal through Bmp morphogens and the non-canonical Wnt5a ligand. Their ablation is associated with perturbed zonation of enterocyte genes induced at the villus tip. Our study provides a spatially-resolved cell atlas of the small intestinal stroma and exposes Lgr5+ villus tip telocytes as regulators of the epithelial spatial expression programs along the villus axis.

Abstract

The intestinal epithelium is a structured organ composed of crypts harboring Lgr5+ stem cells, and villi harboring differentiated cells. Spatial transcriptomics have demonstrated profound zonation of epithelial gene expression along the villus axis, but the mechanisms shaping this spatial variability are unknown. Here, we combine laser capture micro-dissection and single cell RNA sequencing to uncover spatially zonated populations of mesenchymal cells along the crypt-villus axis. These include villus tip telocytes (VTTs) that express Lgr5, a gene previously considered a specific crypt epithelial stem cell marker. VTTs are elongated cells that line the villus tip epithelium and signal through Bmp morphogens and the non-canonical Wnt5a ligand. Their ablation is associated with perturbed zonation of enterocyte genes induced at the villus tip. Our study provides a spatially-resolved cell atlas of the small intestinal stroma and exposes Lgr5+ villus tip telocytes as regulators of the epithelial spatial expression programs along the villus axis.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Molecular Cancer Research
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Molecular Cancer Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > General Chemistry
Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Physical Sciences > General Physics and Astronomy
Language:English
Date:22 April 2020
Deposited On:09 Feb 2021 13:10
Last Modified:01 Mar 2021 16:28
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2041-1723
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15714-x
PubMed ID:32321913

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