1. School of Medicine, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.
2. Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, The First Medical Centre, Medical School of Chinese People's Liberation Army, Beijing, China.
3. Department of Cardiology, Tianjin First Central Hospital, Tianjin 300192, China.
#These authors contributed equally to this article.
Besides abstinence, no effective treatment exists for alcohol-related liver disease (ALD), a dreaded consequence of alcohol abuse. In this study, we assessed the roles on ALD of dual specificity phosphatase-1 (DUSP1), an hepatoprotective enzyme, and Cullin-1 (CUL1), a member of the E3 ubiquitin ligase complex that exerts also transcriptional suppression of mitochondrial genes. Alcohol treatment downregulated hepatic DUSP1 expression in wild-type mice. Notably, DUSP1 transgenic (Dusp1Tg) mice showed resistance to alcohol-mediated hepatic dysfunction, as evidenced by decreased AST/ALT activity, improved alcohol metabolism, and suppressed liver fibrosis, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Functional experiments demonstrated that DUSP1 overexpression prevents alcohol-mediated mitochondrial damage in hepatocytes through restoring mitophagy. Accordingly, pharmacological blockade of mitophagy abolished the hepatoprotective actions of DUSP1. Molecular assays showed that DUSP1 binds cytosolic CUL1 and prevents its translocation to the nucleus. Importantly, CUL1 silencing restored the transcription of p62 and Parkin, resulting in mitophagy activation, and sustained mitochondrial integrity and hepatocyte function upon alcohol stress. These results indicate that alcohol-mediated DUSP1 downregulation interrupts DUSP1/CUL1 interaction, leading to CUL1 nuclear translocation and mitophagy inhibition via transcriptional repression of p62 and Parkin. Thus, targeting the DUSP1/CUL1/p62 axis will be a key approach to restore hepatic mitophagy as well as alleviate symptoms of ALD.
Keywords: Alcohol-related liver disease, DUSP1, CUL1, mitophagy