Epigenetic modifier balances Mapk and Wnt signalling in differentiation of goblet and Paneth cells


  • J. Grinat
  • F. Kosel
  • N. Goveas
  • A. Kranz
  • D. Alexopoulou
  • K. Rajewsky
  • M. Sigal
  • A.F. Stewart
  • J. Heuberger


  • Life Science Alliance


  • Life Sci Alliance 5 (4): e202101187


  • Differentiation and lineage specification are controlled by cooperation of growth factor signalling. The involvement of epigenetic regulators in lineage specification remains largely elusive. Here, we show that the histone methyltransferase Mll1 prevents intestinal progenitor cells from differentiation, whereas it is also involved in secretory lineage specification of Paneth and goblet cells. Using conditional mutagenesis in mice and intestinal organoids, we demonstrate that loss of Mll1 renders intestinal progenitor cells permissive for Wnt-driven secretory differentiation. However, Mll1-deficient crypt cells fail to segregate Paneth and goblet cell fates. Mll1 deficiency causes Paneth cell-determined crypt progenitors to exhibit goblet cell features by unleashing Mapk signalling, resulting in increased numbers of mixed Paneth/goblet cells. We show that loss of Mll1 abolishes the pro-proliferative effect of Mapk signalling in intestinal progenitor cells and promotes Mapk-induced goblet cell differentiation. Our data uncover Mll1 and its downstream targets Gata4/6 as a regulatory hub of Wnt and Mapk signalling in the control of lineage specification of intestinal secretory Paneth and goblet cells.