Retinoblastoma protein (pRb), but not p107 or p130, is required for maintenance of enterocyte quiescence and differentiation in small intestine

Jun Guo, Shannon Longshore, Rajalakshmi Nair, Brad W. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The function of retinoblastoma protein (pRb) in the regulation of small intestine epithelial cell homeostasis has been challenged by several groups using various promoter-based Cre transgenic mouse lines. Interestingly, different pRb deletion systems yield dramatically disparate small intestinal phenotypes. These findings confound the function of pRb in this dynamic tissue. In this study, Villin-Cre transgenic mice were crossed with Rb (flox/flox) mice to conditionally delete pRb protein in small intestine enterocytes. We discovered a novel hyperplasia phenotype as well as ectopic cell cycle reentry within villus enterocytes in the small intestine. This phenotype was not seen in other pRb family member (p107 or p130) null mice. Using a newly developed crypt/villus isolation method, we uncovered that expression of pRb was undetectable, whereas proliferating cell nuclear antigen, p107, cyclin E, cyclin D3, Cdk2, and Cdc2 were dramatically increased in pRb-deficient villus cells. Cyclin A, cyclin D1, cyclin D2, and Cdk4/6 expression was not affected by absent pRb expression. pRb-deficient villus cells appeared capable of progressing to mitosis but with higher rates of apoptosis. However, the cycling villus enterocytes were not completely differentiated as gauged by significant reduction of intestinal fatty acid-binding protein expression. In summary, pRb, but not p107 or p130, is required for maintaining the postmitotic villus cell in quiescence, governing the expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins, and completing of absorptive enterocyte differentiation in the small intestine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-140
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2009


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