Molecular signature of interleukin-22 in colon carcinoma cells and organoid models

Ina Rudloff, Thierry Jardé, Malte Bachmann, Kirstin D. Elgass, Genevieve Kerr, Rebekah Engel, Elizabeth Richards, Karen Oliva, Simon Wilkins, Paul J. McMurrick, Helen E. Abud, Heiko Mühl, Marcel F. Nold

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Interleukin (IL)-22 activates STAT (signal transducer and activator of transcription) 3 and antiapoptotic and proproliferative pathways; but beyond this, the molecular mechanisms by which IL-22 promotes carcinogenesis are poorly understood. Characterizing the molecular signature of IL-22 in human DLD-1 colon carcinoma cells, we observed increased expression of 26 genes, including NNMT (nicotinamide N-methyltransferase, ≤10-fold) and CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen, ≤7-fold), both known to promote intestinal carcinogenesis. ERP27 (endoplasmic reticulum protein-27, function unknown, ≤5-fold) and the proinflammatory ICAM1 (intercellular adhesion molecule-1, ≤4-fold) were also increased. The effect on CEA was partly STAT3-mediated, as STAT3-silencing reduced IL-22-induced CEA by ≤56%. Silencing of CEA or NNMT inhibited IL-22-induced proliferation/migration of DLD-1, Caco-2, and SW480 colon carcinoma cells. To validate these results in primary tissues, we assessed IL-22-induced gene expression in organoids from human healthy colon and colon cancer patients, and from normal mouse small intestine and colon. Gene regulation by IL-22 was similar in DLD-1 cells and human and mouse healthy organoids. CEA was an exception with no induction by IL-22 in organoids, indicating the 3-dimensional organization of the tissue may produce signals absent in 2D cell culture. Importantly, augmentation of NNMT was 5-14-fold greater in human cancerous compared to normal organoids, supporting a role for NNMT in IL-22-mediated colon carcinogenesis. Thus, NNMT and CEA emerge as mediators of the tumor-promoting effects of IL-22 in the intestine. These data advance our understanding of the multifaceted role of IL-22 in the gut and suggest the IL-22 pathway may represent a therapeutic target in colon cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalTranslational Research
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

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