Aberrant epithelial differentiation and regeneration contribute to colon pathologies, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colitis-associated cancer (CAC). Myeloid translocation gene 16 (MTG16, also known as CBFA2T3) is a transcriptional corepressor expressed in the colonic epithelium. MTG16 deficiency in mice exacerbates colitis and increases tumor burden in CAC, though the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we identified MTG16 as a central mediator of epithelial differentiation, promoting goblet and restraining enteroendocrine cell development in homeostasis and enabling regeneration following dextran sulfate sodium–induced (DSS-induced) colitis. Transcriptomic analyses implicated increased Ephrussi box–binding transcription factor (E protein) activity in MTG16-deficient colon crypts. Using a mouse model with a point mutation that attenuates MTG16:E protein interactions (Mtg16P209T), we showed that MTG16 exerts control over colonic epithelial differentiation and regeneration by repressing E protein–mediated transcription. Mimicking murine colitis, MTG16 expression was increased in biopsies from patients with active IBD compared with unaffected controls. Finally, uncoupling MTG16:E protein interactions partially phenocopied the enhanced tumorigenicity of Mtg16–/– colon in the azoxymethane/DSS-induced model of CAC, indicating that MTG16 protects from tumorigenesis through additional mechanisms. Collectively, our results demonstrate that MTG16, via its repression of E protein targets, is a key regulator of cell fate decisions during colon homeostasis, colitis, and cancer.
Rachel E. Brown, Justin Jacobse, Shruti A. Anant, Koral M. Blunt, Bob Chen, Paige N. Vega, Chase T. Jones, Jennifer M. Pilat, Frank Revetta, Aidan H. Gorby, Kristy R. Stengel, Yash A. Choksi, Kimmo Palin, M. Blanca Piazuelo, Mary Kay Washington, Ken S. Lau, Jeremy A. Goettel, Scott W. Hiebert, Sarah P. Short, Christopher S. Williams