Extracellular matrix modulates sensitivity of hepatocytes to fibroblastoid dedifferentiation and transforming growth factor beta-induced apoptosis.
ABSTRACT Hepatocytes in culture are a valuable tool to investigate mechanisms involved in the response of the liver to cytokines. However, it is well established that hepatocytes cultured on monolayers of dried stiff collagen dedifferentiate, losing specialized liver functions. In this study, we show that hepatocyte dedifferentiation is a reversible consequence of a specific signaling network constellation triggered by the extracellular matrix. A dried stiff collagen activates focal adhesion kinase (FAK) via Src, leading to activation of the Akt and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 pathways. Akt causes resistance to transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta)-induced apoptosis by antagonizing p38, whereas ERK1/2 signaling opens the route to epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Apoptosis resistance is reversible by inhibiting Akt or Src, and EMT can be abrogated by blocking the ERK1/2 pathway. In contrast to stiff collagen, a softer collagen gel does not activate FAK, keeping the hepatocytes in a state where they remain sensitive to TGF-beta-induced apoptosis and do not undergo EMT. In this culture system, inhibition of p38 as well as overexpression of constitutively active Akt causes apoptosis resistance, whereas constitutively active Ras induces EMT. Finally, we show that matrix-induced EMT is reversible by replating cells from dried stiff to soft gel collagen. Our results demonstrate that hepatocyte dedifferentiation in vitro is an active process driven by FAK-mediated Akt and ERK1/2 signaling. This leads to similar functional and morphological alterations as observed for regenerating hepatocytes in vivo and is reversible when Akt and/or ERK1/2 signaling pathways are antagonized. CONCLUSION: Hepatocytes can exist in a differentiated and a dedifferentiated state that are reversible and can be switched by manipulating the responsible key factors of the signaling network.
Article: Modeling system states in liver cells: survival, apoptosis and their modifications in response to viral infection.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The decision pro- or contra apoptosis is complex, involves a number of different inputs, and is central for the homeostasis of an individual cell as well as for the maintenance and regeneration of the complete organism. This study centers on Fas ligand (FasL)-mediated apoptosis, and a complex and internally strongly linked network is assembled around the central FasL-mediated apoptosis cascade. Different bioinformatical techniques are employed and different crosstalk possibilities including the integrin pathway are considered. This network is translated into a Boolean network (74 nodes, 108 edges). System stability is dynamically sampled and investigated using the software SQUAD. Testing a number of alternative crosstalk possibilities and networks we find that there are four stable system states, two states comprising cell survival and two states describing apoptosis by the intrinsic and the extrinsic pathways, respectively. The model is validated by comparing it to experimental data from kinetics of cytochrome c release and caspase activation in wildtype and Bid knockout cells grown on different substrates. Pathophysiological modifications such as input from cytomegalovirus proteins M36 and M45 again produces output behavior that well agrees with experimental data. A network model for apoptosis and crosstalk in hepatocytes shows four different system states and reproduces a number of different conditions around apoptosis including effects of different growth substrates and viral infections. It produces semi-quantitative predictions on the activity of individual nodes, agreeing with experimental data. The model (SBML format) and all data are available for further predictions and development.BMC Systems Biology 09/2009; 3:97. · 3.15 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: One of the main complications in patients with liver fibrosis is the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). An understanding of the molecular mechanisms leading to HCC is important in order to be able to design new pharmacological agents serving either to prevent or mitigate the outcome of this malignancy. The transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) cytokine and its isoforms initiate a signaling cascade which is closely linked to liver fibrosis, cirrhosis and subsequent progression to HCC. Because of its role in these stages of disease progression, TGF-β appears to play a unique role in the molecular pathogenesis of HCC. Thus, it is a promising target for pharmacological treatment strategies. Recent studies have shown that inhibition of TGF-β signaling results in multiple synergistic down-stream effects which will likely improve the clinical outcome in HCC. We also review a number of TGF-β inhibitors, most of which are still in a preclinical stage of development, but may soon be available for trial in HCC patients. Hence, it is anticipated that there will soon be new agents available for clinical investigations to evaluate the role of the TGF-β-associated signaling in this deadly cancer.Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 12/2010; 1815(2):214-23. · 4.66 Impact Factor
Article: Histone deacetylase 1 and 2 differentially regulate apoptosis by opposing effects on extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are epigenetic regulators that are important for the control of various pathophysiological events. We found that HDAC inhibitors completely abolished transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)-induced apoptosis in AML-12 and primary mouse hepatocytes. Expression of a dominant-negative mutant of HDAC1 or downregulation of HDAC1 by RNAi both suppressed TGF-β1-induced apoptosis. In addition, overexpression of HDAC1 enhanced TGF-β1-induced apoptosis, and the rescue of HDAC1 expression in HDAC1 RNAi cells restored the apoptotic response of cells to TGF-β1. These data indicate that HDAC1 functions as a proapoptotic factor in TGF-β1-induced apoptosis. In contrast, downregulation of HDAC2 by RNAi increased spontaneous apoptosis and markedly enhanced TGF-β1-induced apoptosis, suggesting that HDAC2 has a reciprocal role in controlling cell survival. Furthermore, inhibition of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) by MEK1 inhibitor PD98059 or expression of a kinase-dead mutant of MEK1 restored the apoptotic response to TGF-β1 in HDAC1 RNAi cells. Strikingly, HDAC2 RNAi caused an inhibition of ERK1/2, and the spontaneous apoptosis can be abolished by reactivation of ERK1/2. Taken together, our data demonstrate that HDAC1 and 2 reciprocally affect cell viability by differential regulation of ERK1/2; these observations provide insight into the roles and potential mechanisms of HDAC1 and 2 in apoptosis.Cell Death & Disease 05/2010; 1:e44. · 5.33 Impact Factor