The intestinal enterochromaffin cell (EC) compartment expands in response to acute injury, microbial infection and colitis to produce serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5HT). Elevated levels of plasma serotonin stimulate fluid secretion and gut motility to expel the infectious or toxic irritants. Although an essential component of the innate immune response, these gut functions contribute to patient discomfort and if sustained become a source of significant morbidity and possible mortality. Despite its central role, it is not understood what regulates EC cell function. During the prior funding cycle, we found that the zinc finger transcription factor ZBP-89 interacts directly with the tumor suppressor protein ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) in response to histone deacetylase inhibition (HDACi), e.g., butyrate or trichostatin A (TSA). Butyrate induces ZBP-89 expression and binding to GC-rich DNA elements in several promoters including the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (CDKI) p21. Butyrate also triggers auto-phosphorylation of ATM at serine 1981 (pATMS1981) that subsequently complexes with ZBP-89 to activate p21. In the current proposal, pATMS1981 positive expression in the gut was found to occur exclusively in the cytoplasm of intestinal EC cells suggesting that pATMS1981 participates in an essential function of these cells. Mice conditionally null for ZBP-89 in the colon exhibited reduced numbers of EC cells and reduced tryptophan hydroxylase 1 gene (TPH1) transcripts on a microarray. Indeed, we found GC-rich DNA elements in the proximal promoter of the TPH1 gene, the rate-limiting synthetic enzyme for 5HT biosynthesis. In addition, pATMS1981-expressing cells in APCmin polyps were absent suggesting that excess Wnt signaling prevents EC cell differentiation. In the current application, three aims are proposed to test the overarching hypothesis that ZBP-89 stimulates serotonin production in gut EC cells by regulating TPH1 gene expression while pATM in the cytoplasm regulates 5HT release. Moreover, we hypothesize that inflammation perturbs their function setting the stage for neoplastic transformation.
In Aim 1, we will determine how ZBP-89- regulates TPH1 gene expression.
In Aim 2, we will dissect the role of pATMS1981 in butyrate-mediated secretion of 5HT.
In Aim 3, we will study the role of these two proteins in 5HT biosynthesis during chronic inflammation and colonic transformation. Collectively, these studies will establish a link between ZBP-89 and pATMS1981, in the biosynthesis and function of 5HT in response to luminal butyrate.

Public Health Relevance

Enterochromaffin (EC) cells secrete serotonin into the circulation to exert a number of clinical effects including increased gut motility and diarrhea. Both the transcription factor ZBP-89 and the tumor suppressor protein ATM are regulated by luminal butyrate from commensal bacteria and are important in maintaining 5HT biosynthesis and secretion from EC cells.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-DKUS-B (04))
Program Officer
Serrano, Jose
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
Ann Arbor
United States
Zip Code
Ocadiz-Ruiz, Ramon; Photenhauer, Amanda L; Hayes, Michael M et al. (2017) ZBP-89 function in colonic stem cells and during butyrate-induced senescence. Oncotarget 8:94330-94344
Essien, Bryan E; Sundaresan, Sinju; Ocadiz-Ruiz, Ramon et al. (2016) Transcription Factor ZBP-89 Drives a Feedforward Loop of ?-Catenin Expression in Colorectal Cancer. Cancer Res 76:6877-6887
Shiotani, A; Kusunoki, H; Ishii, M et al. (2015) Pilot study of Biomarkers for predicting effectiveness of ramosetron in diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome: expression of S100A10 and polymorphisms of TPH1. Neurogastroenterol Motil 27:82-91
Grasberger, Helmut; Gao, Jun; Nagao-Kitamoto, Hiroko et al. (2015) Increased Expression of DUOX2 Is an Epithelial Response to Mucosal Dysbiosis Required for Immune Homeostasis in Mouse Intestine. Gastroenterology 149:1849-59
Li, Xiangen; Romain, Rachael D; Park, Dongsu et al. (2014) Stress hematopoiesis is regulated by the Krüppel-like transcription factor ZBP-89. Stem Cells 32:791-801
Grasberger, Helmut; Chang, Lin; Shih, Wendy et al. (2013) Identification of a functional TPH1 polymorphism associated with irritable bowel syndrome bowel habit subtypes. Am J Gastroenterol 108:1766-74
Grasberger, Helmut; El-Zaatari, Mohamad; Dang, Duyen T et al. (2013) Dual oxidases control release of hydrogen peroxide by the gastric epithelium to prevent Helicobacter felis infection and inflammation in mice. Gastroenterology 145:1045-54
Essien, Bryan E; Grasberger, Helmut; Romain, Rachael D et al. (2013) ZBP-89 regulates expression of tryptophan hydroxylase I and mucosal defense against Salmonella typhimurium in mice. Gastroenterology 144:1466-77, 1477.e1-9
Ye, Cai Guo; Chen, George G; Ho, Rocky L K et al. (2013) Epigenetic upregulation of Bak by ZBP-89 inhibits the growth of hepatocellular carcinoma. Biochim Biophys Acta 1833:2970-2979
Mazuy, Claire; Ploton, Maheul; Eeckhoute, Jérôme et al. (2013) Palmitate increases Nur77 expression by modulating ZBP89 and Sp1 binding to the Nur77 proximal promoter in pancreatic ?-cells. FEBS Lett 587:3883-90

Showing the most recent 10 out of 37 publications