Distinguished research on the influence of the gut microbiota on gene expression 


Institutional Communication Service

26 June 2023

A collaborative study led by Dr. Sheida Moghadamrad at Laboratories for Translational Research, Hepatology/Gastroenterology department of Ente ospedaliero cantonale and faculty of Biomedical Sciences of the Università della Svizzera italiana highlights the key role of intestinal microbiota in the regulation of gut homeostasis in a genetically engineered mouse strain. The data published in the American Journal of Physiology, Gastrointestinal and Liver physiology in May 2023 (doi:10.1152/ajpgi.00123.2022) and has been received the recognition award of APSselect which is a monthly collection from the American Physiology Society (APS) that showcases some of the best recently published articles in physiological research. 

Cre-lox system is a powerful and widely used research tool developed to understand the specific role of genes. It allows to control the expression (spatial and temporal) of genes in experimental models. To date, this is the first study in which we showed that gut microbiota influences the expected phenotype of intestinal cells (secretory cells) depletion in a genetically engineered mouse model (Atoh1 lox/lox VilCreERT2). We found that when the intestinal microbiota is absent, some physiological functions of the intestine (for e.g., cell removal and renewal) are delayed thereby affecting the expected phenotype after depletion of Atoh1 (gene responsible for differentiation of secretory epithelial cells) in the intestine.  

This is particularly important for the future of any research design with the Cre-lox system and highlights the limitations of Cre-loxP mice in the absence of gut microbiota. 

This work is carried out at Laboratories for Translational Research Gastroenterology/hepatology dpt. of Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale, Bellinzona and Clean Mouse Facility, dpt. for Biomedical Research of University of Bern and in collaboration with dpt. of Gastroenterology and hepatology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Institute of Systems Immunology, Max Planck Research Group, University of Würzburg, Germany.