FAT10 suppression stabilizes oxidized proteins in liver cells: Effects of HCV and ethanol

Murali Ganesan, Joseph Hindman, Brittany Tillman, Lee Jaramillo, Larisa Y Poluektova, Barbara A. French, Kusum Kharbanda, Samuel W. French, Natalia A Osna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


FAT10 belongs to the ubiquitin-like modifier (ULM) family that targets proteins for degradation and is recognized by 26S proteasome. FAT10 is presented on immune cells and under the inflammatory conditions, is synergistically induced by IFNγ and TNFα in the non-immune (liver parenchymal) cells. It is not clear how viral proteins and alcohol regulate FAT10 expression on liver cells. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether FAT10 expression on liver cells is activated by the innate immunity factor, IFNα and how HCV protein expression in hepatocytes and ethanol-induced oxidative stress affect the level of FAT10 in liver cells. For this study, we used HCV+ transgenic mice that express structural HCV proteins and their HCV- littermates. Mice were fed Lieber De Carli diet (control and ethanol) as specified in the NIH protocol for chronic-acute ethanol feeding. Alcohol exposure enhanced steatosis, induced oxidative stress and decreased proteasome activity in the liversof these mice, with more robust response to ethanol in HCV+ mice. IFNα induced transcriptional activation of FAT10 in liver cells, which was dysregulated by ethanol feeding. Accordingly, IFNα-activated expression of FAT10 in hepatocytes (measured by indirect immunofluorescent of liver tissue) was also suppressed by ethanol exposure in both HCV+ and HCV- mice. This suppression was accompanied with ethanol-mediated induction of lipid peroxidation marker, 4-HNE. All aforementioned effects of ethanol were attenuated by in vivo feeding of mice with the pro-methylating agent, betaine, which exhibits strong anti-oxidant properties. Based on this study, we hypothesize that FAT10 targets oxidatively modified proteins for proteasomal degradation, and that the reduction in FAT10 levels along with decreased proteasome activity may contribute to stabilization of these altered proteins in hepatocytes. In conclusion, IFNα induced FAT10 expression, which is suppressed by ethanol feeding in both HCV+ and HCV- mice. Betaine treatment reverses HCV-ethanol induced dysregulation of protein methylation and oxidative stress, thereby restoring the FAT10 expression on liver cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-516
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental and Molecular Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Betaine
  • Ethanol
  • FAT10
  • HCV
  • Oxidative stress
  • Ubiquitylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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