RAB18 modulates autophagy in human stellate cells.


Department of Molecular Genetics, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA; Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Macroautophagy (or autophagy) is a conserved degradative pathway that breaks down sequestered cytoplasmic proteins and organelles in specialized double-membrane compartments called autophagosomes that fuse with lysosomes. Several proteins orchestrate this process, specifically Rab GTPases that are master regulators of molecular trafficking. RAB18 GTPase, a known mediator of stellate cell activation, is known to modulate autophagic flux in fibroblasts. However, its role in autophagy is unexplored in hepatic stellate cells.
OBJECTIVE : The aim of this study was to investigate the role of RAB18 in modulating autophagy in hepatic stellate cells.
METHODS : Role of RAB18 was determined by genetic depletion, pharmacologic inhibition, and overexpression studies to monitor autophagy flux and proteostasis in human LX2 stellate cell line.
RESULTS : RAB18 knockdown increases autophagy flux and regulates proteostasis. LX2 cells stimulated with transforming growth factor-beta robustly increases expression of profibrotic genes such as COL1A1 and ACTA2 along with RAB18 and its guanine nucleotide exchange factor, RAB3GAP1.
CONCLUSIONS : The study elucidates a role for RAB18 in autophagy and regulation of proteostasis in human stellate cells. Molecular insights into this process can provide therapeutic opportunities for intervention in liver fibrosis.


Autophagy,Bafilomycin,Canavanine,Fibrosis,Hepatic stellate cells,LC3-II,RAB18,

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