The intestinal epithelium constitutes an efficient barrier against the microbial flora. Here, we demonstrate an unexpected function of IL-33 as a regulator of epithelial barrier functions. Mice lacking IL-33 showed decreased Paneth cell numbers and lethal systemic infection in response to Salmonella typhimurium. IL-33 was produced upon microbial challenge by a distinct population of pericryptal fibroblasts neighboring the intestinal stem cell niche. IL-33 programmed the differentiation of epithelial progenitors toward secretory IEC including Paneth and goblet cells. Finally, IL-33 suppressed Notch signaling in epithelial cells and induced expression of transcription factors governing differentiation into secretory IEC. In summary, we demonstrate that gut pericryptal fibroblasts release IL-33 to translate bacterial infection into an epithelial response to promote antimicrobial defense.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)