Professor Ali Chellasdi, who chairs the Turin site of the Translational Research Institute at the USC Stem Cell clinic and is the corresponding author of the new paper, and his colleagues have developed induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) which can be used to create up to two-thirds of the normal rabbit intestinal lining. As a result, the researchers have discovered that these modified intestinal cells, which express pluripotency factor 2 (PF2) and act as two-segmented intestinal cells, significantly increase intestinal motility and indicate an increase of intestinal function.
PF2 also serves as a gene enhancer by binding to and activating HDR-encoded factor, which in turn enhances the transcription of other genes encoding other cell types. This increases the expression of other luminal genes required for intestinal stem cell maintenance. The researchers have also discovered that the altered intestinal cells made its way to us during birth are also transformed into intestinal propagader cells detrimental to the digestive system and clear them from the blood.
The results have been published in Cell Reports.