Differentiated intestinal epithelial cells exhibit increased migration through polyamines and myosin II

Jaladanki N. Rao, Ji Li, Li Li, Barbara L. Bass, Jian Ying Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Early mucosal restitution is a rapid process by which differentiated intestinal epithelial cells migrate to reseal superficial wounds. However, most of the in vitro studies for restitution employ undifferentiated intestinal crypt cells as a model. The transcription factor, Cdx2, plays an important role in the regulation of intestinal epithelial differentiation. Forced expression of the Cdx2 gene in undifferentiated intestinal crypt cells induces the development of a differentiated phenotype. The current study was designed to determine changes in differentiated intestinal epithelial cell migration after wounding in the stable Cdx2-transfected IEC-6 cells and then to examine involvement of polyamines and nonmuscle myosin II in the process of cell motility. Cdx2-transfected IEC-6 cells were associated with a highly differentiated phenotype and exhibited increased cell migration after wounding. Migration of Cdx2-transfected IEC-6 cells were approximately four times that of nontransfected IEC-6 cells. Migration after wounding was associated with significant increases in polyamine synthesis. Depletion of cellular polyamines by 5 mM α-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), a specific inhibitor of polyamine biosynthesis, inhibited cell migration without affecting the differentiated phenotype. DFMO also decreased levels of nonmuscle myosin II mRNA and protein and resulted in reorganization of myosin II, along with a marked reduction in stress fibers. Exogenous spermidine given together with DFMO not only returned nonmuscle myosin II levels and cellular distribution toward normal but also restored cell migration to control levels. These results indicate that 1) Cdx2-transfected IEC-6 cells exhibit increased cell migration after wounding and 2) cellular polyamines are absolutely required for stimulation of cell migration in association with their ability to modulate the structural organization of nonmuscle myosin II.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G1149-G1158
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number6 40-6
StatePublished - Dec 1999


  • Cdx2 gene
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Differentiation
  • Mucosal injury
  • Ornithine decarboxylase
  • Restitution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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