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Exp Mol Pathol. 2001 Dec;71(3):241-6.

Aggresome formation in liver cells in response to different toxic mechanisms: role of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway and the frameshift mutant of ubiquitin.

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Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California 90509-2910, USA.


Aggresomes form in cells when intracellular proteins undergo conformational changes, as in so-called conformational diseases. This phenomenon has been observed in the liver and brain and in cell culture in response to abnormal protein formation, such as mutant proteins. In the case of the brain the frameshift mutant ubiquitin (UBB+1) is involved. Mallory body formation in the liver is one example of this phenomenon in vivo. Mallory body formation is common in a variety of liver diseases of diverse pathogenesis. The study of the Mallory body forming model indicated that drug-conditioned hepatocytes form Mallory bodies when mice are given colchicine, ethanol, okadaic acid, or exposure to heat shock. These findings suggest that aggresome formation is a common pathway of liver injury due to diverse mechanisms. To further characterize the role of this common pathway, drug-primed mice were exposed to different types of liver injury, i.e., using such drugs as thioacetamide, galactosamine, tautomycin, and the proteasome inhibitor PS341. Mallory body formation was induced by treatment with all the toxins tested, giving credence to the proposal that aggresome formation in the liver is a common pathway in response to different primary mechanisms of liver injury. The frameshift mutant UBB+1 was invariably found to colocalize with ubiquitin in the Mallory body, indicating its essential involvement in the mechanism of MB formation.

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