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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2011 Jul;301(1):G20-31. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00481.2010. Epub 2011 Apr 28.

A role for transcription factor E2F2 in hepatocyte proliferation and timely liver regeneration.

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Departments of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of the Basque Country, Sarriena s/n, Leioa, Spain.


E2F transcription factors are key regulators of the cell cycle although the relative contribution of each E2F member in regulating cellular proliferation is still poorly defined. Present evidence suggests that E2F2 may act both as a suppressor and promoter of proliferation, depending on the cellular context. We used a loss-of-function mutant mouse model to investigate the function of E2F2 in liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy, a paradigm of cell-cycle progression. Liver mass recovery and histology were examined over 9 days in 70% hepatectomized E2F2(-/-) and wild-type animals. Transcriptome analysis was performed in quiescent and 48-h regenerating liver samples. TIGR MultiExperiment Viewer was used for the statistical analysis of microarray data, significance was determined by Fischer, and P values were adjusted applying Benjamini-Hochberg multiple-testing correction. We show that E2F2 is required for adult hepatocyte proliferation and for timely liver regeneration, as disruption of the E2F2 gene in hepatocytes leads to a reduced rate of S-phase entry and to delayed liver regeneration. Transcriptome analysis followed by ontological classification of differentially expressed genes and gene-interaction network analysis indicated that the majority of genes involved in normal liver regeneration were related to biosynthetic and catabolic processes of all major biomolecules as well as cellular location and intracellular transport, confirming the complex nature of the regeneration process. Remarkably, transcripts of genes included in functional categories that are crucial for cell cycle, apoptosis and wound-healing response, and fibrosis were absent in the transcriptome of posthepatectomized E2F2(-/-) mice. Our results indicate that the transcriptional activity of E2F2 contributes to promote adult hepatocyte proliferation and liver regeneration.

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