Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 86–100 | Cite as

Krüpple-Like Factor 5 Is Required for Proper Maintenance of Adult Intestinal Crypt Cellular Proliferation

Original Article



Krüpple-like factor 5 (KLF5) is a transcription factor that is highly expressed in the proliferative compartment of the intestinal crypt. There, it is thought to regulate epithelial turnover and homeostasis.


In this study, we sought to determine the role for Klf5 in the maintenance of cellular proliferation, cytodifferentiation, and morphology of the crypt-villus axis.


Tamoxifen-induced recombination directed by the epithelial-specific Villin promoter (in Villin-CreERT2 transgenic mice) was used to delete Klf5 (in Klf5 loxP/loxP mice) from the adult mouse intestine and analyzed by immunostaining and RT-qPCR. Control mice were tamoxifen-treated Klf5 loxP/loxP mice lacking Villin-CreERT2.


Three days after tamoxifen-induced recombination, the mitosis marker phospho-histone H3 was significantly reduced within the Klf5-mutant crypt epithelium, coincident with increased expression of the apoptosis marker cleaved-caspase 3 within the crypt where cell death rarely occurs normally. We also observed a reduction in Chromagranin A expressing enteroendocrine cells, though no significant change was seen in other secretory or absorptive cell types. To examine the long-term repercussions of Klf5 loss, we killed mice 5, 14, and 28 days post recombination and found reemerging expression of KLF5. Furthermore, we observed restoration of cellular proliferation, though not to levels seen wildtype intestinal crypts. Reduction of apoptosis to levels comparable to the wildtype intestinal crypt was also observed at later time points. Analysis of cell cycle machinery indicated no significant perturbation upon deletion of Klf5; however, a reduction of stem cell markers Ascl2, Lgr5, and Olfm4 was observed at all time points following Klf5 deletion.


These results indicate that Klf5 is necessary to maintain adult intestinal crypt proliferation and proper cellular differentiation. Rapid replacement of Klf5-mutant crypts with wildtype cells and reduction of stem cell markers suggests further that Klf5 is required for self renewal of intestinal stem cells.


Krüpple-like factor 5 Proliferation Apoptosis Cellular differentiation 



This work is supported by the National Institute of Health grant DK092306, NIH Grant P30 DK078392 for the pathology core of the Digestive Disease Research Core Center in Cincinnati at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center, and by the Integrated Microscopy Core at Baylor College of Medicine with funding from the NIH (HD007495, DK56338, and CA125123), the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center, and the John S. Dunn Gulf Coast Consortium for Chemical Genomic. We thank Drs. Jeffrey Whitsett and Yi Zheng of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for providing various materials to complete this work. Thanks to Dr. Taeko Noah for technical advice and Yuan-Hung Lo and Kate Maurer for additional support throughout this study.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of GastroenterologyCincinnati Children’s Hospital Research FoundationCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Graduate Program in Molecular Developmental BiologyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Section of Gastroenterology, Department of MedicineBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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