To investigate the effects of RNA-binding proteins cold-inducible RNA binding protein (CIRP) and human antigen R (HuR) on expression of Claudin1 and mucosal barrier function in ulcerative colitis (UC). The clinical specimens of UC patients and healthy volunteers were collected. In the clinical experiments, the expressions of CIRP, Claudin1, and HuR, along with their correlations in tissues of UC patients were analyzed by qRT-PCR, Western blot and Pearson correlation coefficient, respectively. The chi-square test was utilized to assess the relevance between CIRP/HuR/Claudin1 level and clinicopathological characteristics of UC patients. The in vitro and in vivo models of UC were established by lipopolysaccharide treatment or dextran sulfate sodium injection. For cell experiments, after loss- and gain-of-function, the roles of CIRP or HuR in the apoptosis and proliferation of enterocytes were examined by flow cytometry and CCK-8 assay. The intestinal epithelial barrier function was inspected after determination on transepithelial electrical resistance value, horseradish peroxidase permeability and expressions of tight junction proteins (Occludin, ZO-1, and JAM-1). The relationship between HuR, CIRP, and Claudin1 was performed by RNA immunoprecipitation and dual-luciferase reporter gene assay. For in vivo experiments, the disease activity index score, weight loss and colon length of mice were assessed to observe the effect of CIRP or HuR on the UC mouse models. Histological analysis of colon tissues was conducted by H&E staining. FITC-dextran tracking was applied to inspect the intestinal mucosal barrier function of UC mouse models. In this study, high expression of CIRP and low expressions of HuR and Claudin1 were observed in patients, cells and mouse models of UC. The expressions of CIRP, HuR, and Claudin1 were correlated with the severity of patients with UC. There was a negative correlation between CIRP and Claudin1, and as a positive correlation between HuR and Claudin1. Claudin1 can be suppressed by CIRP, while enhanced by HuR. HuR and CIRP can competitively bind to Claudin1. HuR upregulation or CIRP downregulation promoted proliferation, suppressed apoptosis and ameliorated the damage of the barrier function in enterocytes. The in vivo experiments verified that the ameliorated damage of the intestinal mucosal barrier function in UC mice occurred with HuR overexpression or CIRP knockdown. CIRP and HuR confer pivotal effect on the intestinal mucosal barrier function of UC through competitively binding to Claudin1 mRNA.
© 2021 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.