Drug-induced liver injury (DILI), especially acetaminophen overdose, is the leading cause of acute liver failure. Pregnane X receptor (PXR) is a nuclear receptor and the master regulator of drug metabolism. Aberrant activation of PXR plays a pathogenic role in the acetaminophen hepatotoxicity. Here, we aimed to examine the PXR S-nitrosylation (SNO) in response to acetaminophen. We found that PXR was S-nitrosylated in hepatocytes and the mouse livers after exposure to acetaminophen or S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO). Mass-spectrometry and site-directed mutagenesis identified the cysteine 307 as the primary residue for SNO-modification. In hepatocytes, SNO suppressed both agonist (rifampicin and SR12813)-induced and constitutively active PXR (VP-PXR) activations. Furthermore, in acetaminophen overdosed mouse livers, PXR protein was decreased at the centrilobular regions overlapping with increased SNO. In PXR-deficient (PXR-/-) mice, replenishing the livers with the SNO-deficient PXR significantly aggravated hepatic necrosis, increased HMGB1 release, and exacerbated liver injury and inflammation. Particularly, we demonstrated that S-nitrosoglutathione reductase (GSNOR) inhibitor N6022 promoted hepatoprotection by increasing the levels of PXR S-nitrosylation. In conclusion, PXR is post-translationally modified by S-nitrosylation in hepatocytes in response to acetaminophen. This modification mitigated the acetaminophen-induced PXR hyperactivity. It may serve as a target for therapeutical intervention.
Qi Cui, Tingting Jiang, Xinya Xie, Haodong Wang, Lei Qian, Yanyan Cheng, Qiang Li, Tingxu Lu, Qinyu Yao, Jia Liu, Baochang Lai, Chang Chen, Lei Xiao, Nanping Wang
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a leading cause for chronic liver diseases. Current therapeutic options are limited due to an incomplete mechanistic understanding of how steatosis transitions to NASH. Here we show that the TRIM21 E3 ubiquitin ligase is induced by the synergistic actions of proinflammatory TNF-α and fatty acids in livers of humans and mice with NASH. TRIM21 ubiquitinates and degrades ChREBP, SREBP1, ACC1, and FASN, key regulators of de novo lipogenesis, and A1CF, an alternative splicing regulator of the high-activity ketohexokinase-C (KHK-C) isoform and rate-limiting enzyme of fructose metabolism. TRIM21-mediated degradation of these lipogenic activators improved steatosis and hyperglycemia as well as fructose and glucose tolerance. Our study identifies TRIM21 as a negative regulator of liver steatosis in NASH and provides mechanistic insights into an immunometabolic crosstalk that limits fatty acid synthesis and fructose metabolism during metabolic stress. Thus, enhancing this natural counteracting force of steatosis through inhibition of key lipogenic activators via TRIM21-mediated ubiquitination may provide a therapeutic opportunity to treat NASH.
Kostas C. Nikolaou, Svenja Godbersen, Muthiah Manoharan, Stefan Wieland, Markus H. Heim, Markus Stoffel
Cellular senescence and biliary fibrosis are prototypical features of obliterative cholangiopathies, such as Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). Telomere dysfunction can lead to senescence either through telomere erosion or damaged telomeres. Our goal was to investigate a mechanistic relationship between telomere damage and biliary fibrosis in PSC. Telomere attrition was observed in the bile ducts of PSC patients along with a reduction in telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) expression compared to normal livers. Similarly, liver tissue from mice models of biliary fibrosis showed telomere attrition with increased damage at telomeres measured as telomere-associated foci (TAF). Cellular models of senescence induction increased the TAFs in cholangiocytes. This coincided with decreased TERT expression and increased senescence, which was rescued by modulating TERT levels. Epigenetic analysis revealed increased acquisition of repressive histone methylation at the TERT promoter which correlated with decreased TERT transcription. Cholangiocyte-selective deletion of TERT in mice exacerbated fibrosis whereas androgen therapy towards telomerase rescued liver fibrosis and liver function in genetic mouse model of PSC. Our results demonstrate a mechanistic role for telomere dysfunction in cellular senescence and fibrosis that characterize PSC. This suggests that PSC may be, in part, a telomere biology disorder, and identifies TERT as a potential therapeutic target.
Nidhi Jalan-Sakrikar, Abid Anwar, Usman Yaqoob, Can Gan, Anthony B. Lagnado, Alexander Q. Wixom, Diana Jurk, Robert C. Huebert
Application of classic liver-directed gene replacement strategies is limited in genetic diseases characterized by liver injury due to hepatocyte proliferation resulting in decline of therapeutic transgene expression and potential genotoxic risk. Wilson disease (WD) is a life-threating autosomal disorder of copper homeostasis caused by pathogenic variants in copper transporter ATP7B and characterized by toxic copper accumulation, resulting in severe liver and brain diseases. Genome editing holds promise for the treatment of WD, nevertheless to rescue copper homeostasis ATP7B function must be restored in at least 25% of the hepatocytes, which surpasses by far genome editing correction rates. We applied a liver-directed nuclease-free genome editing approach, based on adeno-associated viral vector (AAV) -mediated targeted integration of a promoterless mini-ATP7B cDNA into the Alb locus. Administration of AAV-Alb-mini-ATP7B in two WD mouse models resulted in extensive liver repopulation by genome edited hepatocytes holding a proliferative advantage over non-edited ones, and ameliorated liver injury and copper metabolism. Furthermore, combination of genome editing with a copper chelator currently used for WD treatment, achieved greater disease improvement compared to chelation therapy alone. Nuclease-free genome editing provided therapeutic efficacy and may represent a safer and longer lasting alternative to classic gene replacement strategies for WD.
Agnese Padula, Michele Spinelli, Edoardo Nusco, Xabier Bujanda Cundin, Filomena Capolongo, Severo Campione, Claudia Perna, Amy Bastille, Megan E. Ericson, Chih-Chieh Wang, Shengwen Zhang, Angela Amoresano, Mariana Nacht, Pasquale Piccolo
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and type 2 diabetes are interacting comorbidities of obesity, and increased hepatic de novo lipogenesis (DNL), driven by hyperinsulinemia and carbohydrate overload, contributes to their pathogenesis. Fatty acid synthase (FASN), a key enzyme of hepatic DNL, is upregulated in association with insulin resistance. However, the therapeutic potential of targeting FASN in hepatocytes for obesity-associated metabolic diseases is unknown. Here, we show that hepatic FASN deficiency differentially affects NAFLD and diabetes depending on the etiology of obesity. Hepatocyte-specific ablation of FASN ameliorated NAFLD and diabetes in melanocortin 4 receptor–deficient mice but not in mice with diet-induced obesity. In leptin-deficient mice, FASN ablation alleviated hepatic steatosis and improved glucose tolerance but exacerbated fed hyperglycemia and liver dysfunction. The beneficial effects of hepatic FASN deficiency on NAFLD and glucose metabolism were associated with suppression of DNL and attenuation of gluconeogenesis and fatty acid oxidation, respectively. The exacerbation of fed hyperglycemia by FASN ablation in leptin-deficient mice appeared attributable to impairment of hepatic glucose uptake triggered by glycogen accumulation and citrate-mediated inhibition of glycolysis. Further investigation of the therapeutic potential of hepatic FASN inhibition for NAFLD and diabetes in humans should thus consider the etiology of obesity.
Toshiya Matsukawa, Takashi Yagi, Tohru Uchida, Mashito Sakai, Masaru Mitsushima, Takao Naganuma, Hiroyuki Yano, Yuka Inaba, Hiroshi Inoue, Keisuke Yanagida, Masaaki Uematsu, Kazuki Nakao, Harumi Nakao, Atsu Aiba, Yoji Nagashima, Tetsuya Kubota, Naoto Kubota, Yoshihiko Izumida, Naoya Yahagi, Hiroyuki Unoki-Kubota, Yasushi Kaburagi, Shun-ichiro Asahara, Yoshiaki Kido, Hideo Shindou, Michiko Itoh, Yoshihiro Ogawa, Shiro Minami, Yasuo Terauchi, Kazuyuki Tobe, Kohjiro Ueki, Masato Kasuga, Michihiro Matsumoto
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are responsible for tumor progression and recurrence. However, the mechanisms regulating hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) stemness remain unclear. Applying a genome-scale CRISPR knockout screen, we identify that the H3K4 methyltransferase SETD1A and other members of Trithorax group proteins drive cancer stemness in HCC. SETD1A is positively correlated with poor clinical outcome in HCC patients. Combination of SETD1A and serum AFP significantly improves the accuracy of predicting HCC relapse. Mechanistically, SETD1A mediates transcriptional activation of various histone-modifying enzymes, facilitates deposition of H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 and activates oncogenic enhancers and super-enhancers, leading to activation of oncogenes and inactivation of tumor suppressor genes simultaneously in HCC CSCs. In addition, SETD1A cooperates with PABPC1 to regulate H3K4me3 modification on oncogenes. Our data pinpoint SETD1A as a key epigenetic regulator driving HCC stemness and progression, highlighting the potential of SETD1A as a candidate target for HCC intervention and therapy.
Jianxu Chen, Zhijie Xu, Hongbin Huang, Yao Tang, Hong Shan, Fei Xiao
Keratin (K) and other intermediate filament (IF) protein mutations at conserved arginines disrupt keratin filaments into aggregates and cause human epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS; K14-R125C) or predispose to mouse liver injury (K18-R90C). The challenge for more than 70 IF-associated diseases is the lack of clinically utilized IF-targeted therapies. We used high-throughput drug screening to identify compounds that normalized mutation-triggered keratin filament disruption. Parthenolide, a plant sesquiterpene lactone, dramatically reversed keratin filament disruption and protected cells and mice expressing K18-R90C from apoptosis. K18-R90C became hyperacetylated compared with K18-WT and treatment with parthenolide normalized K18 acetylation. Parthenolide upregulated the NAD-dependent SIRT2, and increased SIRT2-keratin association. SIRT2 knockdown or pharmacologic inhibition blocked the parthenolide effect, while site-specific Lys-to-Arg mutation of keratin acetylation sites normalized K18-R90C filaments. Treatment of K18-R90C–expressing cells and mice with nicotinamide mononucleotide had a parthenolide-like protective effect. In 2 human K18 variants that associate with human fatal drug-induced liver injury, parthenolide protected K18-D89H– but not K8-K393R–induced filament disruption and cell death. Importantly, parthenolide normalized K14-R125C–mediated filament disruption in keratinocytes and inhibited dispase-triggered keratinocyte sheet fragmentation and Fas-mediated apoptosis. Therefore, keratin acetylation may provide a novel therapeutic target for some keratin-associated diseases.
Jingyuan Sun, Pei Li, Honglian Gui, Laure Rittié, David B. Lombard, Katrin Rietscher, Thomas M. Magin, Qing Xie, Li Liu, M. Bishr Omary
ˆCCL24 is a pro-fibrotic, pro-inflammatory chemokine expressed in several chronic fibrotic diseases. In the liver, CCL24 plays a role in fibrosis and inflammation, and blocking CCL24 led to reduced liver injury in experimental models. We studied the role of CCL24 in primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and evaluated the potential therapeutic effect of blocking CCL24 in this disease. Multidrug resistance gene 2–knockout (Mdr2–/–) mice demonstrated CCL24 expression in liver macrophages and were used as a relevant experimental PSC model. CCL24-neutralizing monoclonal antibody, CM-101, significantly improved inflammation, fibrosis, and cholestasis-related markers in the biliary area. Moreover, using spatial transcriptomics, we observed reduced proliferation and senescence of cholangiocytes following CCL24 neutralization. Next, we demonstrated that CCL24 expression was elevated under pro-fibrotic conditions in primary human cholangiocytes and macrophages, and it induced proliferation of primary human hepatic stellate cells and cholangiocytes, which was attenuated following CCL24 inhibition. Correspondingly, CCL24 was found to be highly expressed in liver biopsies of patients with PSC. CCL24 serum levels correlated with Enhanced Liver Fibrosis score, most notably in patients with high alkaline phosphatase levels. These results suggest that blocking CCL24 may have a therapeutic effect in patients with PSC by reducing liver inflammation, fibrosis, and cholestasis.
Raanan Greenman, Michal Segal-Salto, Neta Barashi, Ophir Hay, Avi Katav, Omer Levi, Ilan Vaknin, Revital Aricha, Sarit Aharoni, Tom Snir, Inbal Mishalian, Devorah Olam, Johnny Amer, Ahmad Salhab, Rifaat Safadi, Yaakov Maor, Palak Trivedi, Christopher J. Weston, Francesca Saffioti, Andrew Hall, Massimo Pinzani, Douglas Thorburn, Amnon Peled, Adi Mor
Hepatitis delta virus (HDV), a satellite virus of HBV, is regarded as the most severe type of hepatitis virus because of the substantial morbidity and mortality. The IFN system is the first line of defense against viral infections and an essential element of antiviral immunity; however, the role of the hepatic IFN system in controlling HBV-HDV infection remains poorly understood. Herein, we showed that HDV infection of human hepatocytes induced a potent and persistent activation of the IFN system whereas HBV was inert in triggering hepatic antiviral response. Moreover, we demonstrated that HDV-induced constitutive activation of the hepatic IFN system resulted in a potent suppression of HBV while modestly inhibiting HDV. Thus, these pathogens are equipped with distinctive immunogenicity and varying sensitivity to the antiviral effectors of IFN, leading to the establishment of a paradoxical mode of viral interference wherein HDV, the superinfectant, outcompetes HBV, the primary pathogen. Furthermore, our study revealed that HDV-induced constitutive IFN system activation led to a state of IFN refractoriness, rendering therapeutic IFNs ineffective. The present study provides potentially novel insights into the role of the hepatic IFN system in regulating HBV-HDV infection dynamics and its therapeutic implications through elucidating the molecular basis underlying the inefficacy of IFN-based antiviral strategies against HBV-HDV infection.
Takeshi Chida, Yuji Ishida, Sho Morioka, Go Sugahara, Christine Han, Bill Lam, Chihiro Yamasaki, Remi Sugahara, Meng Li, Yasuhito Tanaka, T. Jake Liang, Chise Tateno, Takeshi Saito
The pronounced choleretic properties of norursodeoxycholic acid (norUDCA) to induce bicarbonate-rich bile secretion have been attributed to its ability to undergo cholehepatic shunting. The goal of this study was to identify the mechanisms underlying the choleretic actions of norUDCA and role of the bile acid transporters. Here, we show that the apical sodium-dependent bile acid transporter (ASBT), Organic solute transporter-alpha (OSTα), and Organic anion transporting polypeptide 1a/1b (OATP1a/1b) transporters are dispensable for the norUDCA-stimulation of bile flow and biliary bicarbonate secretion. Chloride channels in biliary epithelial cells provide the driving force for biliary secretion. norUDCA potently stimulated chloride currents in mouse large cholangiocytes, which was blocked by siRNA silencing and pharmacological inhibition of the calcium-activated chloride channel transmembrane member 16A (TMEM16A), but unaffected by ASBT inhibition. In agreement, blocking intestinal bile acid reabsorption by co-administration of an ASBT inhibitor or bile acid sequestrant did not impact norUDCA stimulation of bile flow in wildtype mice. The results indicate that these major bile acid transporters are not directly involved in the absorption, cholehepatic shunting, or choleretic actions of norUDCA. Additionally, the findings support further investigation of the therapeutic synergy between norUDCA and ASBT inhibitors or bile acid sequestrants for cholestatic liver disease.
Jennifer K. Truong, Jianing Li, Qin Li, Kimberly Pachura, Anuradha Rao, Sanjeev Gumber, Claudia D. Fuchs, Andrew P. Feranchak, Saul J. Karpen, Michael Trauner, Paul A. Dawson
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