Gluten-induced RNA methylation changes regulate intestinal inflammation via allele-specific XPO1 translation in epithelial cells.

Coeliac disease (CD) is a complex autoimmune disorder that develops in genetically susceptible individuals. Dietary gluten triggers an immune response for which the only available treatment so far is a strict, lifelong gluten free diet. Human leucocyte antigen (HLA) genes and several non-HLA regions have been associated with the genetic susceptibility to CD, but their role in the pathogenesis of the disease is still essentially unknown, making it complicated to develop much needed non-dietary treatments. Here, we describe the functional involvement of a CD-associated single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) located in the 5'UTR of XPO1 in the inflammatory environment characteristic of the coeliac intestinal epithelium.The function of the CD-associated SNP was investigated using an intestinal cell line heterozygous for the SNP, N6-methyladenosine (m6A)-related knock-out and HLA-DQ2 mice, and human samples from patients with CD.Individuals harbouring the risk allele had higher m6A methylation in the 5'UTR of XPO1 RNA, rendering greater XPO1 protein amounts that led to downstream nuclear factor kappa B (NFkB) activity and subsequent inflammation. Furthermore, gluten exposure increased overall m6A methylation in humans as well as in in vitro and in vivo models.We identify a novel m6A-XPO1-NFkB pathway that is activated in CD patients. The findings will prompt the development of new therapeutic approaches directed at m6A proteins and XPO1, a target under evaluation for the treatment of intestinal disorders.

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