Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is closely related to liver fibrosis. The role of coiled-coil-helix-coiled-coil-helix domain-containing 2 (CHCHD2) in NASH remains unknown. CHCHD2’s functions as a transcription factor have received much less attention than those in mitochondria. Herein, we systematically characterized the role of CHCHD2 as a transcription factor by chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing and found its target genes were enriched in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Overall, CHCHD2 expression was found to be increased in the livers of patients with NAFLD and those of NASH mice. In line with these findings, CHCHD2 deficiency ameliorated NASH- and thioacetamide-induced liver fibrosis, whereas hepatocyte-specific CHCHD2 overexpression promoted liver fibrosis in NASH mice via Notch signaling. Specifically, CHCHD2-overexpressing hepatocytes activated hepatic stellate cells by upregulating osteopontin levels, a downstream mediator of Notch signals. Moreover, Notch inhibition attenuated CHCHD2 overexpression–induced liver fibrosis in vivo and in vitro. Then we found lipopolysaccharide-induced CHCHD2 expression in hepatocytes was reverted by verteporfin, an inhibitor that disrupts the interaction between Yes-associated protein (YAP) and transcriptional enhanced associate domains (TEADs). In addition, CHCHD2 levels were positively correlated with those of TEAD1 in human samples. In conclusion, CHCHD2 is upregulated via YAP/TAZ-TEAD in NASH livers and consequently promotes liver fibrosis by activating the Notch pathway and enhancing osteopontin production.
Yue Li, Wenjing Xiu, Jingwen Xu, Xiangmei Chen, Guangyan Wang, Jinjie Duan, Lei Sun, Ben Liu, Wen Xie, Guangyin Pu, Qi Wang, Chunjiong Wang