The essential autophagy gene ATG7 modulates organ fibrosis via regulation of endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition

Krishna K. Singh, Fina Lovren, Yi Pan, Adrian Quan, Azza Ramadan, Pratiek N. Matkar, Mehroz Ehsan, Paul Sandhu, Laura E. Mantella, Nandini Gupta, Hwee Teoh, Matteo Parotto, Arata Tabuchi, Wolfgang M. Kuebler, Mohammed Al-Omran, Toren Finkel, Subodh Verma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive disease characterized by fibroblast proliferation and excess deposition of collagen and other extracellular matrix components. Although the origin of fibroblasts is multifactorial, recent data implicate endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition as an important source of fibroblasts. We report herein that loss of the essential autophagy gene ATG7 in endothelial cells (ECs) leads to impaired autophagic flux accompanied by marked changes in EC architecture, loss of endothelial, and gain of mesenchymal markers consistent with endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Loss of ATG7 also up-regulates TGFβ signaling and key pro-fibrotic genes in vitro. In vivo, EC-specific ATG7 knock-out mice exhibit a basal reduction in endothelial-specific markers and demonstrate an increased susceptibility to bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis and collagen accumulation. Our findings help define the role of endothelial autophagy as a potential therapeutic target to limit organ fibrosis, a condition for which presently there are no effective available treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2547-2559
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume290
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 30 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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