Intestinal Sulfation is Essential to Protect Against Colitis and Colonic Carcinogenesis.

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Sulfation is a conjugation reaction essential for numerous biochemical and cellular functions in mammals. The 3′-phosphoadenosine 5′-phosphosulfate (PAPS) synthase 2 (PAPSS2) is the key enzyme to generate PAPS, which is the universal sulfonate donor for all sulfation reactions. The goal of this study is to determine whether and how PAPSS2 plays a role in colitis and colonic carcinogenesis.Tissue arrays of human colon cancer specimens, gene expression data, and clinical features of cancer patients were analyzed. Intestinal-specific Papss2 knockout mice (Papss2ΔIE) were created and subjected to dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis, and colonic carcinogenesis induced by combined treatment of azoxymethane (AOM) and DSS, or AOM alone.The expression of PAPSS2 is decreased in the colon cancers of mice and humans. The lower expression of PAPSS2 in colon cancer patients is correlated with worse survival. Papss2ΔIE mice showed heightened sensitivity to colitis and colon cancer by damaging the intestinal mucosal barrier, increasing intestinal permeability and bacteria infiltration, and worsening the intestinal tumor microenvironment. Mechanistically, the Papss2ΔIE mice exhibited reduced intestinal sulfomucin content. Metabolomic analyses revealed the accumulation of bile acids including the farnesoid X receptor (FXR) antagonist bile acid tauro-β-muricholic acid (T-β-MCA), and deficiency in the formation of bile acid-sulfates in the colon of Papss2ΔIE mice.We have uncovered an important role of PAPSS2-mediated sulfation in colitis and colonic carcinogenesis. Intestinal sulfation may represent a potential diagnostic marker, and PAPSS2 may serve as a potential therapeutic target for inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer.

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Authors: Pengfei Xu, Yue Xi, Junjie Zhu, Min Zhang, Zigmund Luka, Donna B Stolz, Xinran Cai, Yang Xie, Meishu Xu, Songrong Ren, Zhiying Huang, Da Yang, John D York, Xiaochao Ma, Wen Xie