Aims: As a critical regulatory point of nutrient sensing, growth and metabolism, the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is poised to influence intestinal homeostasis under basal conditions and in disease state. Intestinal barrier integrity ensures tissue homeostasis by closely regulating the permeability of the epithelium to lumenal contents. The role of mTORC1 in the regulation of intestinal barrier function and permeability remains to be fully elucidated. Materials and methods: In this study, we employed lentivirus-mediated knockdown of mTORC1 signaling-associated proteins Raptor (regulatory-associated protein of mTOR) and TSC2 (tuberin) to ascertain the effects of constitutive activation or repression of mTORC1 activity on barrier function in Caco-2 cell monolayers. Key findings: Results showed that the loss of Raptor concomitantly raised the transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) and para/transcellular permeability leading to a cell monolayer that is leaky for dextran yet electrically resistant to the movement of ions. Paracellular permeability was linked to the downregulation of tight junction protein expression and enhanced autophagy. Raptor-depleted cells had the highest abundance of myosin binding subunit MYPT1 concomitantly with the lowest abundance of p-MYPT1 (Thr696) and phosphorylated myosin light chain (p-MLC, Ser19) implying that MLC phosphatase activity was increased resulting in MLC relaxation. Although rapamycin suppressed mTORC1 activity and decreased the abundance of tight junction proteins in control cells, rapamycin caused a modest increase of TEER compared to Raptor knockdown. Significance: The study showed that epithelium paracellular permeability of small molecular weight dextran is dissociated from TEER.
- Intestinal epithelium
- Tight junction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)