Malignant tumors develop through multiple steps of initiation and progression, and tumor initiation is of singular importance in tumor prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. However, the molecular mechanism whereby a signaling network of interacting pathways restrains proliferation in normal cells and prevents tumor initiation is still poorly understood. Here, we have reported that the Hippo, Wnt/β-catenin, and Notch pathways form an interacting network to maintain liver size and suppress hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Ablation of the mammalian Hippo kinases
Wantae Kim, Sanjoy Kumar Khan, Jelena Gvozdenovic-Jeremic, Youngeun Kim, Jason Dahlman, Hanjun Kim, Ogyi Park, Tohru Ishitani, Eek-hoon Jho, Bin Gao, Yingzi Yang
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes (T2D), but whether NAFLD plays a causal role in the pathogenesis of T2D is uncertain. One proposed mechanism linking NAFLD to hepatic insulin resistance involves diacylglycerol-mediated (DAG-mediated) activation of protein kinase C-ε (PKCε) and the consequent inhibition of insulin receptor (INSR) kinase activity. However, the molecular mechanism underlying PKCε inhibition of INSR kinase activity is unknown. Here, we used mass spectrometry to identify the phosphorylation site Thr1160 as a PKCε substrate in the functionally critical INSR kinase activation loop. We hypothesized that Thr1160 phosphorylation impairs INSR kinase activity by destabilizing the active configuration of the INSR kinase, and our results confirmed this prediction by demonstrating severely impaired INSR kinase activity in phosphomimetic T1160E mutants. Conversely, the INSR T1160A mutant was not inhibited by PKCε in vitro. Furthermore, mice with a threonine-to-alanine mutation at the homologous residue Thr1150 (
Max C. Petersen, Anila K. Madiraju, Brandon M. Gassaway, Michael Marcel, Ali R. Nasiri, Gina Butrico, Melissa J. Marcucci, Dongyan Zhang, Abudukadier Abulizi, Xian-Man Zhang, William Philbrick, Stevan R. Hubbard, Michael J. Jurczak, Varman T. Samuel, Jesse Rinehart, Gerald I. Shulman
In Wilson disease (WD), functional loss of ATPase copper-transporting β (ATP7B) impairs biliary copper excretion, leading to excessive copper accumulation in the liver and fulminant hepatitis. Current US Food and Drug Administration– and European Medicines Agency–approved pharmacological treatments usually fail to restore copper homeostasis in patients with WD who have progressed to acute liver failure, leaving liver transplantation as the only viable treatment option. Here, we investigated the therapeutic utility of methanobactin (MB), a peptide produced by
Josef Lichtmannegger, Christin Leitzinger, Ralf Wimmer, Sabine Schmitt, Sabine Schulz, Yaschar Kabiri, Carola Eberhagen, Tamara Rieder, Dirk Janik, Frauke Neff, Beate K. Straub, Peter Schirmacher, Alan A. DiSpirito, Nathan Bandow, Bipin S. Baral, Andrew Flatley, Elisabeth Kremmer, Gerald Denk, Florian P. Reiter, Simon Hohenester, Friedericke Eckardt-Schupp, Norbert A. Dencher, Jerzy Adamski, Vanessa Sauer, Christoph Niemietz, Hartmut H.J. Schmidt, Uta Merle, Daniel Nils Gotthardt, Guido Kroemer, Karl Heinz Weiss, Hans Zischka
Persistent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is established by the formation of an intranuclear pool of covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) in the liver. Very little is known about the intrahepatic distribution of HBV cccDNA in infected patients, particularly at the single-cell level. Here, we established a highly sensitive and specific ISH assay for the detection of HBV RNA, DNA, and cccDNA. The specificity of our cccDNA probe set was confirmed by its strict intranuclear signal and by a series of Southern blot analyses. Use of our in situ assay in conjunction with IHC or immunofluorescence uncovered a surprisingly mosaic distribution of viral antigens and nucleic acids. Most strikingly, a mutually exclusive pattern was found between HBV surface antigen–positive (HBsA-positive) and HBV DNA– and cccDNA-positive cells. A longitudinal observation of patients over a 1-year period of adeforvir therapy confirmed the persistence of a nuclear reservoir of viral DNA, although cytoplasmic DNA was effectively depleted in these individuals. In conclusion, our method for detecting viral nucleic acids, including cccDNA, with single-cell resolution provides a means for monitoring intrahepatic virological events in chronic HBV infection. More important, our observations unravel the complexity of the HBV life cycle in vivo.
Xiaonan Zhang, Wei Lu, Ye Zheng, Weixia Wang, Lu Bai, Liang Chen, Yanling Feng, Zhanqing Zhang, Zhenghong Yuan
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the most common liver disease in industrialized countries. NASH is a progressive disease that can lead to cirrhosis, cancer, and death, and there are currently no approved therapies. The development of NASH in animal models requires intact TLR9, but how the TLR9 pathway is activated in NASH is not clear. Our objectives in this study were to identify NASH-associated ligands for TLR9, establish the cellular requirement for TLR9, and evaluate the role of obesity-induced changes in TLR9 pathway activation. We demonstrated that plasma from mice and patients with NASH contains high levels of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and intact mitochondria and has the ability to activate TLR9. Most of the plasma mtDNA was contained in microparticles (MPs) of hepatocyte origin, and removal of these MPs from plasma resulted in a substantial decrease in TLR9 activation capacity. In mice, NASH development in response to a high-fat diet required TLR9 on lysozyme-expressing cells, and a clinically applicable TLR9 antagonist blocked the development of NASH when given prophylactically and therapeutically. These data demonstrate that activation of the TLR9 pathway provides a link between the key metabolic and inflammatory phenotypes in NASH.
Irma Garcia-Martinez, Nicola Santoro, Yonglin Chen, Rafaz Hoque, Xinshou Ouyang, Sonia Caprio, Mark J. Shlomchik, Robert Lee Coffman, Albert Candia, Wajahat Zafar Mehal
Wilson’s disease (WD) is an autosomal recessive disorder that results in accumulation of copper in the liver as a consequence of mutations in the gene encoding the copper-transporting P-type ATPase (ATP7B). WD is a chronic liver disorder, and individuals with the disease present with a variety of complications, including steatosis, cholestasis, cirrhosis, and liver failure. Similar to patients with WD,
Clavia Ruth Wooton-Kee, Ajay K. Jain, Martin Wagner, Michael A. Grusak, Milton J. Finegold, Svetlana Lutsenko, David D. Moore
Bone formation during fracture repair inevitably initiates within or around extravascular deposits of a fibrin-rich matrix. In addition to a central role in hemostasis, fibrin is thought to enhance bone repair by supporting inflammatory and mesenchymal progenitor egress into the zone of injury. However, given that a failure of efficient fibrin clearance can impede normal wound repair, the precise contribution of fibrin to bone fracture repair, whether supportive or detrimental, is unknown. Here, we employed mice with genetically and pharmacologically imposed deficits in the fibrin precursor fibrinogen and fibrin-degrading plasminogen to explore the hypothesis that fibrin is vital to the initiation of fracture repair, but impaired fibrin clearance results in derangements in bone fracture repair. In contrast to our hypothesis, fibrin was entirely dispensable for long-bone fracture repair, as healing fractures in fibrinogen-deficient mice were indistinguishable from those in control animals. However, failure to clear fibrin from the fracture site in plasminogen-deficient mice severely impaired fracture vascularization, precluded bone union, and resulted in robust heterotopic ossification. Pharmacological fibrinogen depletion in plasminogen-deficient animals restored a normal pattern of fracture repair and substantially limited heterotopic ossification. Fibrin is therefore not essential for fracture repair, but inefficient fibrinolysis decreases endochondral angiogenesis and ossification, thereby inhibiting fracture repair.
Masato Yuasa, Nicholas A. Mignemi, Jeffry S. Nyman, Craig L. Duvall, Herbert S. Schwartz, Atsushi Okawa, Toshitaka Yoshii, Gourab Bhattacharjee, Chenguang Zhao, Jesse E. Bible, William T. Obremskey, Matthew J. Flick, Jay L. Degen, Joey V. Barnett, Justin M.M. Cates, Jonathan G. Schoenecker
Ductular reactions (DRs) are observed in virtually all forms of human liver disease; however, the histogenesis and function of DRs in liver injury are not entirely understood. It is widely believed that DRs contain bipotential liver progenitor cells (LPCs) that serve as an emergency cell pool to regenerate both cholangiocytes and hepatocytes and may eventually give rise to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Here, we used a murine model that allows highly efficient and specific lineage labeling of the biliary compartment to analyze the histogenesis of DRs and their potential contribution to liver regeneration and carcinogenesis. In multiple experimental and genetic liver injury models, biliary cells were the predominant precursors of DRs but lacked substantial capacity to produce new hepatocytes, even when liver injuries were prolonged up to 12 months. Genetic modulation of NOTCH and/or WNT/β-catenin signaling within lineage-tagged DRs impaired DR expansion but failed to redirect DRs from biliary differentiation toward the hepatocyte lineage. Further, lineage-labeled DRs did not produce tumors in genetic and chemical HCC mouse models. In summary, we found no evidence in our system to support mouse biliary-derived DRs as an LPC pool to replenish hepatocytes in a quantitatively relevant way in injury or evidence that DRs give rise to HCCs.
Simone Jörs, Petia Jeliazkova, Marc Ringelhan, Julian Thalhammer, Stephanie Dürl, Jorge Ferrer, Maike Sander, Mathias Heikenwalder, Roland M. Schmid, Jens T. Siveke, Fabian Geisler
Liver cholestatic diseases, which stem from diverse etiologies, result in liver toxicity and fibrosis and may progress to cirrhosis and liver failure. We show that CCN1 (also known as CYR61), a matricellular protein that dampens and resolves liver fibrosis, also mediates cholangiocyte proliferation and ductular reaction, which are repair responses to cholestatic injury. In cholangiocytes, CCN1 activated NF-κB through integrin αvβ5/αvβ3, leading to
Ki-Hyun Kim, Chih-Chiun Chen, Gianfranco Alpini, Lester F. Lau
The cause of organ failure is enigmatic for many degenerative diseases, including end-stage liver disease. Here, using a CCl4-induced rat model of irreversible and fatal hepatic failure, which also exhibits terminal changes in the extracellular matrix, we demonstrated that chronic injury stably reprograms the critical balance of transcription factors and that diseased and dedifferentiated cells can be returned to normal function by re-expression of critical transcription factors, a process similar to the type of reprogramming that induces somatic cells to become pluripotent or to change their cell lineage. Forced re-expression of the transcription factor HNF4α induced expression of the other hepatocyte-expressed transcription factors; restored functionality in terminally diseased hepatocytes isolated from CCl4-treated rats; and rapidly reversed fatal liver failure in CCl4-treated animals by restoring diseased hepatocytes rather than replacing them with new hepatocytes or stem cells. Together, the results of our study indicate that disruption of the transcription factor network and cellular dedifferentiation likely mediate terminal liver failure and suggest reinstatement of this network has therapeutic potential for correcting organ failure without cell replacement.
Taichiro Nishikawa, Aaron Bell, Jenna M. Brooks, Kentaro Setoyama, Marta Melis, Bing Han, Ken Fukumitsu, Kan Handa, Jianmin Tian, Klaus H. Kaestner, Yoram Vodovotz, Joseph Locker, Alejandro Soto-Gutierrez, Ira J. Fox