A fundamental question in the aging field is whether the age-related decline in tissue-specific adult stem cell function is reversible. Focused on the gut, our preliminary studies suggest that intestinal stem cell (ISC) numbers are reduced in old mice and humans and that intestinal crypts isolated from old mice are less functional in an in vitro organoid assay of ISC function. We also find that calorie restriction (CR) reverses the effects of aging on ISCs. In the mammalian intestine, a majority of ISCs express Lgr5 and are adjacent to Paneth cells, which constitute a component of the stem cell cellular neighborhood or ?niche?. We have recently demonstrated that CR in young mice augments ISC function by reducing mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling in Paneth cells, and that these effects of CR can be mimicked by rapamycin (an mTORC1 inhibitor). This interaction between Paneth cells and ISCs is mediated by expression in Paneth cells of bone stromal antigen 1 (Bst-1), an ectoenzyme that produces the paracrine factor cyclic ADP ribose (cADPR). Identification of the mechanistic steps in this process through the three aims of this proposal will increase our understanding of how CR protects an organism against the age-related decline in tissue function. Specifically, we will test the hypotheses that induction of niche Bst-1 by CR and rapamycin boosts ISC function in old mice (Aim 1); that the transcription factor PPAR-gamma mediates this response in Paneth cells (Aim 2); and that cADPR-activated signaling mediates this response in ISCs (Aim 3).

Public Health Relevance

The adult mammalian intestine is a rapidly renewing organ that is maintained by stem cells. In order to function properly, these intestinal stem cells often require signals from their cellular neighborhood or ?niche?, which consists of Paneth cells. The intestine with age undergoes progressive loss of tissue function that includes a reduced ability to regenerate after injury. However, it is unknown how much of the age-related decline in intestinal repair is due to aging of the niche or aging of the stem cells themselves. We will investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in stem cell function by the Paneth cells, and study the role of intestinal stem cells and their niche in aging and in lifespan extending interventions such as calorie restriction.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Transition Award (R00)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (NSS)
Program Officer
Macchiarini, Francesca
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Biton, Moshe; Haber, Adam L; Rogel, Noga et al. (2018) T Helper Cell Cytokines Modulate Intestinal Stem Cell Renewal and Differentiation. Cell 175:1307-1320.e22
Lannagan, Tamsin R M; Lee, Young K; Wang, Tongtong et al. (2018) Genetic editing of colonic organoids provides a molecularly distinct and orthotopic preclinical model of serrated carcinogenesis. Gut :
Roper, Jatin; Tammela, Tuomas; Akkad, Adam et al. (2018) Colonoscopy-based colorectal cancer modeling in mice with CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing and organoid transplantation. Nat Protoc 13:217-234
Zhou, Wen; Almeqdadi, Mohammad; Xifaras, Michael E et al. (2018) The effect of geometric isomerism on the anticancer activity of the monofunctional platinum complex trans-[Pt(NH3)2(phenanthridine)Cl]NO3. Chem Commun (Camb) 54:2788-2791
Mihaylova, Maria M; Cheng, Chia-Wei; Cao, Amanda Q et al. (2018) Fasting Activates Fatty Acid Oxidation to Enhance Intestinal Stem Cell Function during Homeostasis and Aging. Cell Stem Cell 22:769-778.e4
Cheng, Chia-Wei; Yilmaz, Ömer H (2017) Starving leukemia to induce differentiation. Nat Med 23:14-15
Roper, Jatin; Tammela, Tuomas; Cetinbas, Naniye Malli et al. (2017) In vivo genome editing and organoid transplantation models of colorectal cancer and metastasis. Nat Biotechnol 35:569-576
Mana, Miyeko D; Kuo, Elaine Yih-Shuen; Yilmaz, Ömer H (2017) Dietary Regulation of Adult Stem Cells. Curr Stem Cell Rep 3:1-8
Kedrin, Dmitriy; Gandhi, Shaan-Chirag Chandrahas; Wolf, Molly et al. (2017) Bariatric Surgery Prior to Index Screening Colonoscopy Is Associated With a Decreased Rate of Colorectal Adenomas in Obese Individuals. Clin Transl Gastroenterol 8:e73
Beyaz, Semir; Yilmaz, Ömer H (2016) Molecular Pathways: Dietary Regulation of Stemness and Tumor Initiation by the PPAR-? Pathway. Clin Cancer Res 22:5636-5641

Showing the most recent 10 out of 19 publications