Human Cell

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 240–250 | Cite as

Schlafen 12 mediates the effects of butyrate and repetitive mechanical deformation on intestinal epithelial differentiation in human Caco-2 intestinal epithelial cells

  • Lakshmi S. Chaturvedi
  • Qinggang Wang
  • Shyam K. More
  • Emilie E. Vomhof-DeKrey
  • Marc D. BassonEmail author
Research Article


Intestinal epithelial differentiation may be stimulated by diverse pathways including luminal short-chain fatty acids and repetitive mechanical deformation engendered by villous motility and peristalsis. Schlafen 12 (SLFN12) is a cytosolic protein that stimulates sucrase-isomaltase (SI) expression. We hypothesized that two disparate differentiating stimuli, butyrate and repetitive deformation, would each stimulate SLFN12 expression in human Caco-2 intestinal epithelial cells and that increased SLFN12 expression would contribute to the differentiating activity of the human Caco-2 intestinal epithelial cells. We stimulated Caco-2 cells with 1–2 mM butyrate or repetitive mechanical deformation at 10 cycles/min at an average 10% strain, and measured SLFN12 and SI expression by qRT-PCR. Sodium butyrate enhanced SLFN12 expression at both 1 mM and 2 mM although SI expression was only significantly increased at 2 mM. Repetitive deformation induced by cyclic mechanical strain also significantly increased both SLFN12 and SI gene expression. Reducing SLFN12 by siRNA decreased basal, deformation-stimulated, and butyrate-stimulated SLFN12 levels, compared to control cells treated with non-targeting siRNA, although both deformation and butyrate were still able to stimulate SLFN12 expression in siRNA-treated cells compared to control cells treated with the same siRNA. This attenuation of the increase in SLFN12 expression in response to mechanical strain or butyrate was accompanied by parallel attenuation of SI expression. Butyrate stimulated SI-promoter activity, and reducing SLFN12 by siRNA attenuated butyrate-induced SI-promoter activity. These data suggest that SLFN12 mediates at least in part the stimulation by both butyrate and repetitive mechanical deformation of sucrase-isomaltase, a late stage differentiation marker in human intestinal epithelial cells.


Enterocyte Intestine Schlafen Strain Short-chain fatty acid 



Supported in part by NIH RO1 DK096137 (MDB).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors in the present manuscript declare that they have no potential conflict of interest relevant to this study.


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Copyright information

© Japan Human Cell Society and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lakshmi S. Chaturvedi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qinggang Wang
    • 1
  • Shyam K. More
    • 1
  • Emilie E. Vomhof-DeKrey
    • 1
  • Marc D. Basson
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departments of Surgery, Pathology, and Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine and the Health SciencesUniversity of North DakotaGrand ForksUSA
  2. 2.Currently at Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biomedical Sciences-College of Pharmacy, Departments of Basic Sciences and Surgery-College of MedicineCalifornia Northstate UniversityElk GroveUSA

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