Aberrant epithelial differentiation and regeneration contribute to colon pathologies, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colitis-associated cancer (CAC). Myeloid translocation gene 16 (MTG16, also known as CBFA2T3) is a transcriptional corepressor expressed in the colonic epithelium. MTG16 deficiency in mice exacerbates colitis and increases tumor burden in CAC, though the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we identified MTG16 as a central mediator of epithelial differentiation, promoting goblet and restraining enteroendocrine cell development in homeostasis and enabling regeneration following dextran sulfate sodium-induced (DSS-induced) colitis. Transcriptomic analyses implicated increased Ephrussi box-binding transcription factor (E protein) activity in MTG16-deficient colon crypts. Using a mouse model with a point mutation that attenuates MTG16:E protein interactions (Mtg16P209T), we showed that MTG16 exerts control over colonic epithelial differentiation and regeneration by repressing E protein-mediated transcription. Mimicking murine colitis, MTG16 expression was increased in biopsies from patients with active IBD compared with unaffected controls. Finally, uncoupling MTG16:E protein interactions partially phenocopied the enhanced tumorigenicity of Mtg16-/- colon in the azoxymethane/DSS-induced model of CAC, indicating that MTG16 protects from tumorigenesis through additional mechanisms. Collectively, our results demonstrate that MTG16, via its repression of E protein targets, is a key regulator of cell fate decisions during colon homeostasis, colitis, and cancer.
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