Amika Singla

University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States

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Publications (20)217.74 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: DRA (downregulated in adenoma) or SLC26A3 is the major apical anion exchanger mediating Cl(-) absorption in intestinal epithelial cells. Disturbances in DRA function and expression have been implicated in diarrheal conditions such as congenital chloride diarrhea and inflammatory bowel diseases. Previous studies have shown that DRA is subject to regulation by short-term and transcriptional mechanisms. In this regard, we have recently shown that short-term treatment by lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), an important bioactive phospholipid, stimulates Cl(-)/HCO(3)(-)(OH(-)) exchange activity via an increase in DRA surface levels in human intestinal epithelial cells. However, the long-term effects of LPA on DRA at the level of gene transcription have not been examined. The present studies were aimed at investigating the effects of LPA on DRA function and expression as well as elucidating the mechanisms underlying its transcriptional regulation. Long-term LPA treatment increased the Cl(-)/HCO(3)(-) exchange activity in Caco-2 cells. LPA treatment (50-100 μM) of Caco-2 cells significantly stimulated DRA mRNA levels and DRA promoter activity (-1183/+114). This increase in DRA promoter activity involved the LPA2 receptor and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathways. Progressive deletions from -1183/+114 to -790/+114 abrogated the stimulatory effects of LPA, indicating that the -1183/-790 promoter region harbors LPA response elements. Utilizing EMSA and mutational studies, our results showed that LPA induced the DRA promoter activity in a c-Fos-dependent manner. LPA also increased the protein expression of c-Fos and c-Jun in Caco-2 cells. Furthermore, overexpression of c-Fos but not c-Jun enhanced the DRA promoter activity. This increase in DRA transcription in response to LPA indicates that LPA may act as an antidiarrheal agent and could be exploited for the treatment of diarrhea associated with inflammatory or infectious diseases of the gut.
    AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 12/2011; 302(6):G618-27. DOI:10.1152/ajpgi.00172.2011 · 3.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: High levels of calcitonin (CT) observed in medullary thyroid carcinoma and other CT-secreting tumours cause severe diarrhoea. Previous studies have suggested that CT induces active chloride secretion. However, the involvement of CT receptor (CTR) and the molecular mechanisms underlying the modulation of intestinal electrolyte secreting intestinal epithelial cells have not been investigated. Therefore, current studies were undertaken to investigate the direct effects of CT on ion transport in intestinal epithelial cells. Real time quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot analysis demonstrated the expression of CTR in intestinal epithelial T84 cells. Exposure of T84 cells to CT from the basolateral but not from apical side significantly increased short circuit current (I(SC) ) in a dose-dependent manner that was blocked by 1 μM of CTR antagonist, CT8-32. CT-induced I(SC) was blocked by replacing chloride in the bath solutions with equimolar gluconate and was significantly inhibited by the specific cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) inhibitor, CFTR(127inh). Further, biotinylation studies showed that CT increased CFTR levels on the apical membrane. The presence of either the Ca(2+) chelator, bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane tetraacetic acid-acetoxymethyl (BAPTA-AM) ester or the protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor, H89, significantly inhibited I(SC) induced by CT (∼32-58% reduction). Response to CT was retained after permeabilization of the basolateral or the apical membranes of T84 cells with nystatin. In conclusion, the activation of CTR by CT induced chloride secretion across T84 monolayers via CFTR channel and the involvement of PKA- and Ca(2+) -dependent signalling pathways. These data elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying CT-induced diarrhoea.
    Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 12/2011; 15(12):2697-705. DOI:10.1111/j.1582-4934.2011.01264.x · 4.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Curcumin, the major phenolic compound in the spice turmeric, exhibits numerous biological effects, including lowering plasma cholesterol and preventing diet-induced hypercholesterolemia. The mechanisms underlying the hypocholesterolemic effect of curcumin are not fully understood. In this regard, intestinal Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 (NPC1L1) cholesterol transporter, the molecular target of intestinal cholesterol absorption inhibitor ezetimibe, plays an essential role in the maintenance of cholesterol homeostasis. The current studies were designed to investigate the effect of curcumin on NPC1L1 function, expression, and promoter activity in intestinal Caco-2 monolayers. NPC1L1 function was evaluated by the measurement of ezetimibe-sensitive [(3)H]cholesterol esterification. Relative abundance of NPC1L1 mRNA and protein was evaluated by real-time PCR and Western blotting, respectively. Luciferase assays were used to measure NPC1L1 promoter activity. Our results showed that curcumin significantly inhibited ezetimibe-sensitive cholesterol esterification in a dose-dependent manner with a maximum decrease (by 52% compared with control) occurring at 50 μM concentration. Curcumin treatment of Caco-2 monolayers also significantly decreased NPC1L1 mRNA and protein expression. Similarly, the promoter activity of the NPC1L1 gene was inhibited significantly (55%) by 50 μM curcumin. The decrease in NPC1L1 promoter activity by curcumin was associated with a reduction in the expression and the DNA-binding activity of the sterol response element-binding protein 2 (SREBP2) transcription factor. Furthermore, the overexpression of active SREBP2 protected NPC1L1 from the inhibitory effect of curcumin. Our studies demonstrate that curcumin directly modulates intestinal NPC1L1 expression via transcriptional regulation and the involvement of SREBP2 transcription factor.
    AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 04/2011; 301(1):G148-55. DOI:10.1152/ajpgi.00119.2011 · 3.80 Impact Factor

  • Gastroenterology 01/2011; 140(5). DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(11)60542-8 · 16.72 Impact Factor

  • Gastroenterology 05/2010; 138(5). DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(10)62718-7 · 16.72 Impact Factor

  • Gastroenterology 05/2010; 138(5). DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(10)62716-3 · 16.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two members of the SLC26 gene family, SLC26A3 or DRA (downregulated in adenoma) and SLC26A6 (putative anion transporter 1, PAT1), are known to play a major role in apical Cl(-)/OH(-) (HCO(3)(-)) exchange process in the human intestine. We have previously shown the inhibitory effects of IFN-gamma (30 ng/ml, 24 h) on both SLC26A3 and A6 expression and promoter activity. We also demonstrated that the effects of IFN-gamma on SLC26A6 gene expression were mediated via IRF-1 transcription factor. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the transcriptional modulation of SLC26A3 gene expression by IFN-gamma in the intestine are not known. The present studies were, therefore, designed to elucidate the signaling mechanisms and transcription factor(s) involved in mediating the inhibitory effects of IFN-gamma on DRA promoter (p--1183/+114) activity. Deletion analysis indicated that the IFN-gamma response element is located within the -1183 to -790 region, and sequence analysis of this region revealed the presence of potential gamma-activated site (GAS), a binding site (-933/-925 bp) for signal transducer and activator of transcription factor 1 (STAT1). Mutations in the potential GAS element abrogated the inhibitory effects of IFN-gamma. These studies provide evidence for the involvement of STAT1 in the inhibition of SLC26A3 gene expression by IFN-gamma in the human intestine.
    AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 11/2009; 298(2):G159-66. DOI:10.1152/ajpgi.00374.2009 · 3.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), a potent bioactive phospholipid, is a natural component of food products like soy and egg yolk. LPA modulates a number of epithelial functions and has been shown to inhibit cholera toxin-induced diarrhea. Antidiarrheal effects of LPA are known to be mediated by inhibiting chloride secretion. However, the effects of LPA on chloride absorption in the mammalian intestine are not known. The present studies examined the effects of LPA on apical Cl(-)/OH(-) exchangers known to be involved in chloride absorption in intestinal epithelial cells. Caco-2 cells were treated with LPA, and Cl(-)/OH(-) exchange activity was measured as DIDS-sensitive (36)Cl(-) uptake. Cell surface biotinylation studies were performed to evaluate the effect of LPA on cell surface levels of apical Cl(-)/OH(-) exchangers, downregulated in adenoma (DRA) (SLC26A3), and putative anion transporter-1 (SLC26A6). Treatment of Caco-2 cells with LPA (100 muM) significantly stimulated Cl(-)/OH(-) exchange activity. Specific agonist for LPA2 receptor mimicked the effects of LPA. LPA-mediated stimulation of Cl(-)/OH(-) exchange activity was dependent on activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt signaling pathway. Consistent with the functional activity, LPA treatment resulted in increased levels of DRA on the apical membrane. Our results demonstrate that LPA stimulates apical Cl(-)/OH(-) exchange activity and surface levels of DRA in intestinal epithelial cells. This increase in Cl(-)/OH(-) exchange may contribute to the antidiarrheal effects of LPA.
    AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 11/2009; 298(2):G182-9. DOI:10.1152/ajpgi.00345.2009 · 3.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Serotonin transporter (SERT) plays a critical role in regulating serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT]) availability in the gut. Elevated 5-HT levels are associated with diarrheal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and enteric infections. Whether alteration in SERT activity contributes to the pathophysiology of diarrhea induced by the food-borne pathogen enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) is not known. The present studies examined the effects of EPEC infection on SERT activity and expression in intestinal epithelial cells and elucidated the underlying mechanisms. Caco-2 cells as a model of human intestinal epithelia and EPEC-infected C57BL/6J mouse model of infection were utilized. SERT activity was measured as Na(+) and Cl(-) dependent (3)[H] 5-HT uptake. SERT expression was measured by real-time quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, Western blotting, and immunofluorescence studies. Infection of Caco-2 cells with EPEC for 30-120 minutes decreased apical SERT activity (P < .001) in a type 3 secretion system dependent manner and via involvement of protein tyrosine phosphatases. EPEC infection decreased V(max) of the transporter; whereas cell surface biotinylation studies revealed no alteration in the cellular or plasma membrane content of SERT in Caco-2 cells. EPEC infection of mice (24 hours) reduced SERT immunostaining with a corresponding decrease in SERT messenger RNA levels, 5-HT uptake, and mucosal 5-HT content in the small intestine. Our results demonstrate inhibition of SERT by EPEC and define the mechanisms underlying these effects. These data may aid in the development of a novel pharmacotherapy to modulate the serotonergic system in treatment of infectious diarrheal diseases.
    Gastroenterology 09/2009; 137(6):2074-83. DOI:10.1053/j.gastro.2009.09.002 · 16.72 Impact Factor

  • Gastroenterology 05/2009; 136(5). DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(09)60612-0 · 16.72 Impact Factor

  • Gastroenterology 05/2009; 136(5). DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(09)62611-1 · 16.72 Impact Factor

  • Gastroenterology 05/2009; 136(5). DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(09)62623-8 · 16.72 Impact Factor

  • Gastroenterology 05/2009; 136(5). DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(09)63275-3 · 16.72 Impact Factor

  • Gastroenterology 05/2009; 136(5):A-567. DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(09)62607-X · 16.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Monocarboxylate transporter (MCT1) plays an important role in the absorption of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as butyrate in the human colon. Previous studies from our laboratory have demonstrated that phorbol ester, PMA (1 microM, 24 h), upregulates butyrate transport and MCT1 protein expression in human intestinal Caco-2 cells. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in the transcriptional regulation of MCT1 gene expression by PMA in the intestine are not known. In the present study, we showed that PMA (0.1 microM, 24 h) increased the MCT1 promoter activity (-871/+91) by approximately fourfold. A corresponding increase in MCT1 mRNA abundance in response to PMA was also observed. PMA-induced stimulation of MCT1 promoter activity was observed as early as 1 h and persisted until 24 h, suggesting that the effects of PMA are attributable to initial PKC activation. Kinase inhibitor and phosphorylation studies indicated that these effects may be mediated through activation of the atypical PKC-zeta isoform. 5'-deletion studies demonstrated that the MCT1 core promoter region (-229/+91) is the PMA-responsive region. Site-directed mutagenesis studies showed the predominant involvement of potential activator protein 2 (AP2) binding site in the activation of MCT1 promoter activity by PMA. In addition, overexpression of AP2 in Caco-2 cells significantly increased MCT1 promoter activity in a dose-dependent manner. These findings showing the regulation of MCT1 promoter by PKC and AP2 are of significant importance for an understanding of the molecular regulation of SCFA absorption in the human intestine.
    AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 12/2008; 296(2):G275-83. DOI:10.1152/ajpgi.90503.2008 · 3.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: SLC26A6 (putative anion transporter 1, PAT1) has been shown to play an important role in mediating the luminal Cl(-)/OH(-)(HCO(3)(-)) exchange process in the intestine. Very little is known about the molecular mechanisms involved in the transcriptional regulation of intestinal SLC26A6 gene expression in the intestine. Current studies were, therefore, designed to clone and characterize the 5'-regulatory region of the human SLC26A6 gene and determine the mechanisms involved in its regulation. A 1,120 bp (p-964/+156) SLC26A6 promoter fragment cloned upstream to the luciferase reporter gene in pGL2-basic exhibited high promoter activity when transfected in Caco2 cells. Progressive deletions of the 5'-flanking region demonstrated that -214/-44 region of the promoter harbors cis-acting elements important for maximal SLC26A6 promoter activity. Since, diarrhea associated with inflammatory bowel diseases is attributed to increased secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, we examined the effects of IFNgamma (30 ng/ml, 24 h) on SLC26A6 function, expression and promoter activity. IFNgamma decreased both SLC26A6 mRNA and function and repressed SLC26A6 promoter activity. Deletion analysis indicated that IFNgamma response element is located between -414/-214 region and sequence analysis of this region revealed the presence of potential Interferon Stimulated Responsive Element (ISRE), a binding site (-318/-300 bp) for interferon regulatory factor-1 transcription factor (IRF-1). Mutations in the potential ISRE site abrogated the inhibitory effects of IFNgamma. These studies provided novel evidence for the involvement of IRF-1 in the regulation of SLC26A6 gene expression by IFNgamma in the human intestine.
    Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 10/2008; 105(2):454-66. DOI:10.1002/jcb.21842 · 3.26 Impact Factor

  • Gastroenterology 04/2008; 134(4). DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(08)62714-6 · 16.72 Impact Factor

  • Gastroenterology 04/2008; 134(4). DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(08)60272-3 · 16.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The enteric serotonin transporter (SERT) plays a critical role in modulating serotonin availability and thus has been implicated in the pathogenesis of various intestinal disorders. To date, SERT expression and function in the human intestine have not been investigated. Current studies were designed to characterize the function, expression, distribution, and membrane localization of SERT in the native human intestine. Real-time PCR studies showed relatively higher SERT mRNA expression in the human small intestine compared with colon (ileum > duodenum > jejunum). Northern blot analysis revealed three mRNA hybridizing species encoding SERT (3.0, 4.9, and 6.8 kb) in the human ileum. Consistent with SERT mRNA expression, SERT immunostaining was mainly detected in the epithelial cells of human duodenal and ileal resected tissues. Notably, SERT expression was localized predominantly to the apical and intracellular compartments and was distributed throughout the crypt-villus axis. Immunoblotting studies detected a prominent protein band ( approximately 70 kDa) in the ileal apical plasma membrane vesicles (AMVs) isolated from mucosa obtained from organ-donor intestine. Functional studies showed that uptake of [(3)H]serotonin (150 nM) in human ileal AMVs was 1) significantly increased in the presence of both Na(+) and Cl(-); 2) inhibited ( approximately 50%) by the neuronal SERT inhibitor, fluoxetine (10 microM) and by unlabeled 5-HT; and 3) exhibited saturation kinetics indicating the presence of a carrier-mediated process. Our studies demonstrated differential expression of SERT across various regions of the human intestine and provide evidence for the existence of a functional SERT capable of removing intraluminal serotonin in human ileal epithelial cells.
    AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 02/2008; 294(1):G254-62. DOI:10.1152/ajpgi.00354.2007 · 3.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 (NPC1L1) is an essential intestinal component of cholesterol absorption. However, little is known about the molecular regulation of intestinal NPC1L1 expression and promoter activity. We demonstrated that human NPC1L1 mRNA expression was significantly decreased by 25-hydroxycholesterol but increased in response to cellular cholesterol depletion achieved by incubation with Mevinolin (an inhibitor of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase) in human intestinal Caco-2 cells. We also showed that a -1741/+56 fragment of the NPC1L1 gene demonstrated high promoter activity in Caco-2 cells that was reduced by 25-hydroxycholesterol and stimulated by cholesterol depletion. Interestingly, we showed that the NPC1L1 promoter is remarkably transactivated by the overexpression of sterol regulatory element (SRE) binding protein (SREBP)-2, suggesting its involvement in the sterol-induced alteration in NPC1L1 promoter activity. Finally, we identified two putative SREs in the human NPC1L1 promoter and established their essential roles in mediating the effects of cholesterol on promoter activity. Our study demonstrated the modulation of human NPC1L1 expression and promoter activity by cholesterol in a SREBP-2-dependent mechanism.
    AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 02/2007; 292(1):G369-76. DOI:10.1152/ajpgi.00306.2006 · 3.80 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

200 Citations
217.74 Total Impact Points


  • 2008-2011
    • University of Illinois at Chicago
      • • Department of Physiology and Biophysics (Chicago)
      • • Section of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 2007-2008
    • Jesse Brown VA Medical Center
      Chicago, Illinois, United States