1. Department of Surgery, Second Affiliated Hospital of School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
2. Department of Biochemistry, and Department of Cardiology of Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310058, China.
3. College of Life Sciences and Medicine, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Hangzhou 310018, China
4. Department of Thyroid and Breast Surgery, Tongde Hospital of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou, 310000, China
5. Department of general surgery, Zhejiang Hospital, Hangzhou, 310000, China.
* Equal contribution
Background and aims: Biological mechanisms that control liver regeneration remain poorly defined. However, these mechanisms are remarkable issues in the clinic that affect management of hepatic loss caused by liver surgery, traumatic injury, chronic infection, or liver poisoning. Increasing evidence has shown that various growth factors, cytokines, and metabolic signaling pathways affect the liver regenerative process. Our aim is to study the effect of bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) protein inhibition on liver regeneration and its mechanism.
Methods: We studied the role of BET protein inhibitor, JQ1, in liver regeneration in a mouse model after 70% partial hepatectomy (PH). We evaluated yes-associated protein (YAP)/transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) and Notch signaling pathways, which were affected by BET protein inhibitor in mouse hepatic tissues and primary hepatocytes in vivo and AML12 cell lines in vitro. We evaluated the relationship of YAP/TAZ and Notch signaling pathway using YAP/TAZ pathway inhibitor in liver regeneration in vivo. Moreover, we analyzed the relationship of YAP/TAZ and Notch signaling pathways via overexpression or RNA silencing of Yap in AML12 cells. Furthermore, we used Yap overexpression mouse model to examine whether it can rescue liver regeneration damage caused by inhibition of BET proteins.
Results: In this study, we report that BET protein inhibitor JQ1 molecule impairs the early phase of liver regeneration in a mouse model after 70% PH. Mechanistically, YAP/TAZ and Notch1-NICD pathways were suppressed by BET protein inhibitor in mouse hepatic tissues and primary hepatocytes in vivo and mouse AML12 cell lines in vitro. By using YAP/TAZ pathway inhibitor, we confirmed that the liver regeneration and the activation of Notch pathway were impaired by the inhibition of YAP/TAZ pathway in vivo. Furthermore, the study showed that Yap knockdown by shRNA in normal mouse hepatic cell line downregulated Notch1 signal transduction, whereas Yap overexpression promoted Notch1-NICD signals. Specific overexpression of Yap in mouse liver could rescue the effect of BET protein inhibition on liver regeneration injury.
Conclusion: These results revealed the crucial role of the YAP/TAZ-Notch1-NICD axis in liver regeneration. Therefore, BET protein inhibitors must be used in caution in the treatment of hepatic diseases by reason of its suppressive roles in liver regeneration.
Keywords: liver regeneration, BET proteins, YAP/TAZ, Notch signaling pathway