Epithelial retinoic acid receptor β regulates serum amyloid A expression and Vitamin A-dependent intestinal immunity

Sureka Gattu, Ye Ji Bang, Mihir Pendse, Chaitanya Dende, Andrew L. Chara, Tamia A. Harris, Yuhao Wang, Kelly A. Ruhn, Zheng Kuang, Shanthini Sockanathan, Lora V. Hooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Vitamin A is a dietary component that is essential for the development of intestinal immunity. Vitamin A is absorbed and converted to its bioactive derivatives retinol and retinoic acid by the intestinal epithelium, yet little is known about how epithelial cells regulate vitamin A-dependent intestinal immunity. Here we show that epithelial cell expression of the transcription factor retinoic acid receptor β (RARβ) is essential for vitamin A-dependent intestinal immunity. Epithelial RARβ activated vitamin A-dependent expression of serum amyloid A (SAA) proteins by binding directly to Saa promoters. In accordance with the known role of SAAs in regulating Th17 cell effector function, epithelial RARβ promoted IL-17 production by intestinal Th17 cells. More broadly, epithelial RARβ was required for the development of key vitamin A-dependent adaptive immune responses, including CD4+ T-cell homing to the intestine and the development of IgA-producing intestinal B cells. Our findings provide insight into how the intestinal epithelium senses dietary vitamin A status to regulate adaptive immunity, and highlight the role of epithelial cells in regulating intestinal immunity in response to diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10911-10916
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
StatePublished - 28 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Intestinal epithelium
  • Microbiota
  • Mucosal immunity
  • Retinol
  • Vitamin A


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