Depdc5 deficiency exacerbates alcohol-induced hepatic steatosis via suppression of PPARα pathway

Lin Xu, Xinge Zhang, Yue Xin, Jie Ma, Chenyan Yang, Xi Zhang, Guoqing Hou, Xiaocheng Charlie Dong, Zhaoli Sun, Xiwen Xiong, Xuan Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alcohol-related liver disease (ALD), a condition caused by alcohol overconsumption, occurs in three stages of liver injury including steatosis, hepatitis, and cirrhosis. DEP domain-containing protein 5 (DEPDC5), a component of GAP activities towards Rags 1 (GATOR1) complex, is a repressor of amino acid-sensing branch of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway. In the current study, we found that aberrant activation of mTORC1 was likely attributed to the reduction of DEPDC5 in the livers of ethanol-fed mice or ALD patients. To further define the in vivo role of DEPDC5 in ALD development, we generated Depdc5 hepatocyte-specific knockout mouse model (Depdc5-LKO) in which mTORC1 pathway was constitutively activated through loss of the inhibitory effect of GATOR1. Hepatic Depdc5 ablation leads to mild hepatomegaly and liver injury and protects against diet-induced liver steatosis. In contrast, ethanol-fed Depdc5-LKO mice developed severe hepatic steatosis and inflammation. Pharmacological intervention with Torin 1 suppressed mTORC1 activity and remarkably ameliorated ethanol-induced hepatic steatosis and inflammation in both control and Depdc5-LKO mice. The pathological effect of sustained mTORC1 activity in ALD may be attributed to the suppression of peroxisome proliferator activated receptor α (PPARα), the master regulator of fatty acid oxidation in hepatocytes, because fenofibrate (PPARα agonist) treatment reverses ethanol-induced liver steatosis and inflammation in Depdc5-LKO mice. These findings provide novel insights into the in vivo role of hepatic DEPDC5 in the development of ALD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number710
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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