The Francis Crick Institute
s42003-024-05890-7.pdf (14.6 MB)

BECLIN1 is essential for intestinal homeostasis involving autophagy-independent mechanisms through its function in endocytic trafficking.

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-26, 14:33 authored by Sharon Tran, Juliani Juliani, Tiffany J Harris, Marco Evangelista, Julian Ratcliffe, Sarah L Ellis, David Baloyan, Camilla M Reehorst, Rebecca Nightingale, Ian Y Luk, Laura J Jenkins, Sonia Ghilas, Marina H Yakou, Chantelle Inguanti, Chad Johnson, Michael Buchert, James C Lee, Peter De Cruz, Kinga Duszyc, Paul A Gleeson, Benjamin T Kile, Lisa A Mielke, Alpha S Yap, John M Mariadason, W Douglas Fairlie, Erinna F Lee
Autophagy-related genes have been closely associated with intestinal homeostasis. BECLIN1 is a component of Class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase complexes that orchestrate autophagy initiation and endocytic trafficking. Here we show intestinal epithelium-specific BECLIN1 deletion in adult mice leads to rapid fatal enteritis with compromised gut barrier integrity, highlighting its intrinsic critical role in gut maintenance. BECLIN1-deficient intestinal epithelial cells exhibit extensive apoptosis, impaired autophagy, and stressed endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria. Remaining absorptive enterocytes and secretory cells display morphological abnormalities. Deletion of the autophagy regulator, ATG7, fails to elicit similar effects, suggesting additional novel autophagy-independent functions of BECLIN1 distinct from ATG7. Indeed, organoids derived from BECLIN1 KO mice show E-CADHERIN mislocalisation associated with abnormalities in the endocytic trafficking pathway. This provides a mechanism linking endocytic trafficking mediated by BECLIN1 and loss of intestinal barrier integrity. Our findings establish an indispensable role of BECLIN1 in maintaining mammalian intestinal homeostasis and uncover its involvement in endocytic trafficking in this process. Hence, this study has important implications for our understanding of intestinal pathophysiology.


Crick (Grant ID: CC2219, Grant title: Lee CC2219)