A novel NEDD4L-TXNIP-CHOP axis in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

Qian Guo, Qingchun Lu, Dechun Feng, Vicky Yang, Lee F. Peng, Kelly A. Whelan, Wenhui Hu, Sheng Wu, Xiaofeng Yang, Hong Wang, Brad S. Rothberg, Ana Maria Gamero, Glenn S. Gerhard, Bin Gao, Ling Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a leading cause of chronic liver diseases worldwide. There is a pressing clinical need to identify potential therapeutic targets for NASH treatment. Thioredoxin interacting protein (Txnip) is a stress responsive gene that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of NASH, but its exact role is not fully understood. Here, we investigated the liver- and gene-specific role of Txnip and its upstream/downstream signaling in the pathogenesis of NASH. Methods and Results: Using four independent NASH mouse models, we found that TXNIP protein abnormally accumulated in NASH mouse livers. A decrease in E3 ubiquitin ligase NEDD4L resulted in impaired TXNIP ubiquitination and its accumulation in the liver. TXNIP protein levels were positively correlated with that of CHOP, a major regulator of ER stress-mediated apoptosis, in NASH mouse liver. Moreover, gain- and loss-of-function studies showed that TXNIP increased protein not mRNA levels of Chop both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, the C-terminus of TXNIP associated with the N-terminus of the α-helix domain of CHOP and decreased CHOP ubiquitination, thus increasing the stability of CHOP protein. Lastly, selective knockdown of Txnip by adenovirus-mediated shRNA (not targets Txnip antisense lncRNA) delivery in the livers of both young and aged NASH mice suppressed the expression of CHOP and its downstream apoptotic pathway, and ameliorated NASH by reducing hepatic apoptosis, inflammation, and fibrosis. Conclusions: Our study revealed a pathogenic role of hepatic TXNIP in NASH and identified a novel NEDD4L-TXNIP-CHOP axis in the pathogenesis of NASH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2210-2225
Number of pages16
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2023


  • CHOP
  • E3 ligase
  • NASH
  • Ubiquitination
  • Signal Transduction/genetics
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Inflammation/metabolism
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease/metabolism
  • Animals
  • Thioredoxins/genetics
  • Liver/metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins/genetics
  • Mice
  • Apoptosis


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