New data, generated in mice, by Linda Samuelson and colleagues, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, have defined a new role for the protein Hip1r in ensuring that cells in the lining of the stomach that are known as parietal cells function normally.
One of the main functions of parietal cells is to secrete acid, which is stored inside special compartments in the cell known as vesicles, into the stomach to promote the digestion of food. As Hip1r was found to be required for parietal cells to transport their acid-containing vesicles to the surface where the acid is released, mice lacking Hip1r had less acid in their stomach.
In addition, the defect in acid-containing vesicle transport caused many of the parietal cells to die by a process known as apoptosis. These effects were associated with other changes in the lining of the stomach that resembled changes seen in the human stomach lining in the progression to stomach cancer.
The authors therefore conclude that Hip1r has an important role in maintaining normal stomach function.
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