The follicle-associated epithelium (FAE) overlying the Peyers patches and the microfold cells (M cells) within it are important sites of antigen transcytosis across the intestinal epithelium. Using a meta-analysis approach, we identified a transcriptional signature that distinguished the FAE from a large collection of mouse cells and tissues. A co-expressed cluster of 21 FAE-specific genes was identified, and the analysis of the transcription factor binding site motifs in their promoter regions indicated that these genes shared an underlying transcriptional programme. This cluster contained known FAE-(Anxa10, Ccl20, Psg18 and Ubd) and M-cell-specific (Gp2) genes, suggesting that the others were novel FAE-specific genes. Some of these novel candidate genes were expressed highly by the FAE and M cells (Calcb, Ces3b, Clca2 and Gjb2), and others only by the FAE (Ascl2, Cftr, Fgf15, Gpr133, Kcna1, Kcnj15, Mycl1, Pgap1 and Rps6kl). We also identified a subset of novel FAE-related genes that were induced in the intestinal epithelium after receptor activator of nuclear factor (NF)-κB ligand stimulation. These included Mfge8 which was specific to FAE enterocytes. This study provides new insight into the FAE transcriptome. Further characterization of the candidate genes identified here will aid the identification of novel regulators of cell function in the FAE.
- M cells
- follicle-associated epithelium
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology