Methionine is important for intestinal development and homeostasis in various organisms. However, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that the methionine adenosyltransferase gene Mat2a is essential for intestinal development and that the metabolite S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) plays an important role in intestinal homeostasis. Intestinal epithelial cell (IEC)-specific knockout of Mat2a exhibits impaired intestinal development and neonatal lethality. Mat2a deletion in the adult intestine reduces cell proliferation and triggers IEC apoptosis, leading to severe intestinal epithelial atrophy and intestinal inflammation. Mechanistically, we reveal that SAM maintains the integrity of differentiated epithelium and protects IECs from apoptosis by suppressing the expression of caspases 3 and 8 and their activation. SAM supplementation improves the defective intestinal epithelium and reduces inflammatory infiltration sequentially. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that methionine metabolism and its intermediate metabolite SAM play essential roles in intestinal development and homeostasis in mice.

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