Studies using lower organisms and cultured mammalian cells have revealed that the COP9 signalosome (CSN) has important roles in multiple cellular processes. Conditional gene targeting was recently used to study CSN function in murine T-cell development and activation. Using the Cre-loxP system, here we have achieved postnatal hepatocyte-restricted knockout of the csn8 gene (HR-Csn8KO) in mice. The protein abundance of other seven CSN subunits was differentially downregulated by HR-Csn8KO and the deneddylation of all cullins examined was significantly impaired. Moreover, HR-Csn8KO-induced massive hepatocyte apoptosis and evoked extensive reparative responses in the liver, including marked intralobular proliferation of biliary lineage cells and trans-differentiation and proliferation of the oval cells. However, division of pre-existing hepatocytes was significantly diminished in HR-Csn8KO livers. These findings indicate that Csn8 is essential to the ability of mature hepatocytes to proliferate effectively in response to hepatic injury. The histopathological examinations revealed striking hepatocytomegaly in Csn8-deficient livers. The hepatocyte nuclei were dramatically enlarged and pleomorphic with hyperchromasia and prominent nucleoli, consistent with dysplasia or preneoplastic cellular alteration in HR-Csn8KO mice at 6 weeks. Pericellular and perisinusoid fibrosis with distorted architecture was also evident at 6 weeks. It is concluded that CSN8/CSN is essential to postnatal hepatocyte survival and effective proliferation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgements. Dr X Wang is an established investigator of the American Heart Association (AHA). This work was supported in part by grants R01HL072166, R01HL085629, and R01HL068936 from the NIH and grant 0740025N from AHA (to XW), and an AHA postdoctoral fellowship (to HS), and by the Physician Scientist Program of the University of South Dakota.
- COP9 signalosome
- conditional gene targeting
- liver regeneration