Cdk5rap3 is essential for intestinal Paneth cell development and maintenance

Michaela Quintero, Siyang Liu, Yanhua Xia, Yonghong Huang, Yi Zou, Ge Li, Ling Hu, Nagendra Singh, Richard Blumberg, Yafei Cai, Hong Xu, Honglin Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Intestinal Paneth cells are professional exocrine cells that play crucial roles in maintenance of homeostatic microbiome, modulation of mucosal immunity, and support for stem cell self-renewal. Dysfunction of these cells may lead to the pathogenesis of human diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Cdk5 activator binding protein Cdk5rap3 (also known as C53 and LZAP) was originally identified as a binding protein of Cdk5 activator p35. Although previous studies have indicated its involvement in a wide range of signaling pathways, the physiological function of Cdk5rap3 remains largely undefined. In this study, we found that Cdk5rap3 deficiency resulted in very early embryonic lethality, indicating its indispensable role in embryogenesis. To further investigate its function in the adult tissues and organs, we generated intestinal epithelial cell (IEC)-specific knockout mouse model to examine its role in intestinal development and tissue homeostasis. IEC-specific deletion of Cdk5rap3 led to nearly complete loss of Paneth cells and increased susceptibility to experimentally induced colitis. Interestingly, Cdk5rap3 deficiency resulted in downregulation of key transcription factors Gfi1 and Sox9, indicating its crucial role in Paneth cell fate specification. Furthermore, Cdk5rap3 is highly expressed in mature Paneth cells. Paneth cell-specific knockout of Cdk5rap3 caused partial loss of Paneth cells, while inducible acute deletion of Cdk5rap3 resulted in disassembly of the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) and abnormal zymogen granules in the mature Paneth cells, as well as loss of Paneth cells. Together, our results provide definitive evidence for the essential role of Cdk5rap3 in Paneth cell development and maintenance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number131
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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