Keratin 8 and keratin 18 (K8/K18) are intermediate filament proteins that form the obligate heteropolymers in hepatocytes and protect the liver against toxins. The mechanisms of protection include the regulation of signaling pathway associated with cell survival. Previous studies show K8/K18 binding with Akt, which is a well-known protein kinase involved in the cell survival signaling pathway. However, the role of K8/K18 in the Akt signaling pathway is unclear. In this study, we found that K8/K18-Akt binding is downregulated by K8/K18 phosphorylation, specifically phos-phorylation of K18 ser7/34/53 residues, whereas the binding is upregulated by K8 gly-62-cys muta-tion. K8/K18 expression in cultured cell system tends to enhance the stability of the Akt protein. A comparison of the Akt signaling pathway in a mouse system with liver damage shows that the pathway is downregulated in K18-null mice compared with nontransgenic mice. K18-null mice with Fas-induced liver damage show enhanced apoptosis combined with the downregulation of the Akt signaling pathway, i.e., lower phosphorylation levels of GSK3β and NFκB, which are the down-stream signaling factors in the Akt signaling pathway, in K18-null mice compared with the control mice. Our study indicates that K8/K18 expression protects mice from liver damage by participating in enhancing the Akt signaling pathway.
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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry