Critical Role for the DNA Sensor AIM2 in Stem Cell Proliferation and Cancer

Cell Press

Man et al. (2015) from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Gannan Medical University recently published research in Cell describing how therapeutic modulation of the expression of AIM2, an innate immune sensor frequently identified in patients with colorectal cancer, affects microbiota and has the potential to prevent colorectal cancer.

In this study, these researchers identified that Aim2-deficient (AIM-/-) mice are hypersusceptible to colonic tumor development. To assess whether the gut microbiome played a role in this increased susceptibility to tumor development, Man et al. used the NEXTflex™ 16S V4 Amplicon-Seq Kit to perform 16S rRNA sequencing analysis of gut microbiota obtained from stool samples. 

Their sequencing analysis revealed markedly different intestinal microbial landscapes in AIM2-/- mice when compared to wild type mice housed separately from the AIM2-/- mice. These findings uncover a synergy between a specific host genetic factor and gut microbiota in determining the susceptibility to colorectal cancer. 

Co-housing the AIM2-/- mice with wild type mice with equilibrated the relative abundance of a number of microbes resulting in a striking reduction in the number and incidence of colon tumor in the co-housed AIM2-/- mice. This illustrates that therapeutic modulation of AIM2 expression and microbiota has the potential to prevent colorectal cancer.

Man, S. M. et al. (2015) Critical Role for the DNA Sensor AIM2 in Stem Cell Proliferation and Cancer. Cell. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.06.001.

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