Induced Differentiation of M Cell-like Cells in Human Stem Cell-derived Ileal Enteroid Monolayers.


Program in Immunology, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences; [Email]


M (microfold) cells of the intestine function to transport antigen from the apical lumen to the underlying Peyer's patches and lamina propria where immune cells reside and therefore contribute to mucosal immunity in the intestine. A complete understanding of how M cells differentiate in the intestine as well as the molecular mechanisms of antigen uptake by M cells is lacking. This is because M cells are a rare population of cells in the intestine and because in vitro models for M cells are not robust. The discovery of a self-renewing stem cell culture system of the intestine, termed enteroids, has provided new possibilities for culturing M cells. Enteroids are advantageous over standard cultured cell lines because they can be differentiated into several major cell types found in the intestine, including goblet cells, Paneth cells, enteroendocrine cells and enterocytes. The cytokine RANKL is essential in M cell development, and addition of RANKL and TNF-α to culture media promotes a subset of cells from ileal enteroids to differentiate into M cells. The following protocol describes a method for the differentiation of M cells in a transwell epithelial polarized monolayer system of the intestine using human ileal enteroids. This method can be applied to the study of M cell development and function.

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