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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Keratin mutation primes mouse liver to oxidative injury.

Mutation of the cytoskeletal intermediate filament proteins keratin 8 and keratin 18 ( K8/ K18) is associated with cirrhosis in humans, whereas transgenic mice that overexpress K18 Arg89-->Cys (R89C) have significant predisposition to liver injury. To study the mechanism of keratin-associated predisposition to liver injury, we used mouse microarrays to examine genetic changes associated with hepatocyte keratin mutation and assessed the consequences of such changes. Liver gene expression was compared in R89C versus nontransgenic or wild-type K18-overexpressing mice. Microarray-defined genetic changes were confirmed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Nineteen genes had a more than two-fold altered expression (nine downregulated, 10 upregulated). Upregulated genes in keratin-mutant hepatocytes included the oxidative metabolism genes cytochrome P450, S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) hydrolase, cysteine sulfinic acid decarboxylase, and oxidation-reduction pathway genes. Downregulated genes included fatty acid binding protein 5, cyclin D1, and some signaling molecules. Several methionine metabolism-related and glutathione synthetic pathway intermediates, including S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) and SAH, were modulated in R89C versus control mice. R89C livers had higher lipid and protein oxidation by-products as reflected by increased malondialdehyde and oxidized albumin. In conclusion, K18 point mutation in transgenic mice modulates several hepatocyte oxidative stress-related genes and leads to lipid and protein oxidative by-products. Mutation-associated decreases in SAH and SAMe could compromise needed cysteine availability to generate glutathione during oxidative stress. Hence keratin mutations may prime hepatocytes to oxidative injury, which provides a new potential mechanism for how keratin mutations may predispose patients to cirrhosis.[1]


  1. Keratin mutation primes mouse liver to oxidative injury. Zhou, Q., Ji, X., Chen, L., Greenberg, H.B., Lu, S.C., Omary, M.B. Hepatology (2005) [Pubmed]
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