ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-190418-17
Notch Inhibition Promotes Differentiation of Liver Progenitor Cells into Hepatocytes via sox9b Repression in Zebrafish
Russell, J.O., Ko, S., Monga, S.P., Shin, D.
Date: 2019
Source: Stem Cells International   2019: 8451282 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Ko, Sungjin, Shin, Donghun
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms: none
PubMed: 30992706 Full text @ Stem Cells Int.
Liver regeneration after most forms of injury is mediated through the proliferation of hepatocytes. However, when hepatocyte proliferation is impaired, such as during chronic liver disease, liver progenitor cells (LPCs) arising from the biliary epithelial cell (BEC) compartment can give rise to hepatocytes to mediate hepatic repair. Promotion of LPC-to-hepatocyte differentiation in patients with chronic liver disease could serve as a potentially new therapeutic option, but first requires the identification of the molecular mechanisms driving this process. Notch signaling has been identified as an important signaling pathway promoting the BEC fate during development and has also been implicated in regulating LPC differentiation during regeneration. SRY-related HMG box transcription factor 9 (Sox9) is a direct target of Notch signaling in the liver, and Sox9 has also been shown to promote the BEC fate during development. We have recently shown in a zebrafish model of LPC-driven liver regeneration that inhibition of Hdac1 activity through MS-275 treatment enhances sox9b expression in LPCs and impairs LPC-to-hepatocyte differentiation. Therefore, we hypothesized that inhibition of Notch signaling would promote LPC-to-hepatocyte differentiation by repressing sox9b expression in zebrafish. We ablated the hepatocytes of Tg(fabp10a:CFP-NTR) larvae and blocked Notch activation during liver regeneration through treatment with γ-secretase inhibitor LY411575 and demonstrated enhanced induction of Hnf4a in LPCs. Alternatively, enhancing Notch signaling via Notch3 intracellular domain (N3ICD) overexpression impaired Hnf4a induction. Hepatocyte ablation in sox9b heterozygous mutant embryos enhanced Hnf4a induction, while BEC-specific Sox9b overexpression impaired LPC-to-hepatocyte differentiation. Our results establish the Notch-Sox9b signaling axis as inhibitory to LPC-to-hepatocyte differentiation in a well-established in vivo LPC-driven liver regeneration model.