Transient GFER knockdown in vivo impairs liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy

Antonio Francavilla, Barbara Pesetti, Michele Barone, Annalisa Morgano, Fabiola Bovenga, Anna Napoli, Leonardo Resta, Francesco Russo, Michele Linsalata, Mario Minoia, Giusy Bianco, Angela Tafaro, Lorenzo Polimeno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims Augmenter of Liver Regeneration is a protein encoded by the Growth Factor Erv1-Like gene. Its biological properties are crucial for cell survival since knock-out mice for Growth Factor Erv1-Like gene do not survive. In this study, we injected hepatotropic adenoviral particles harboring oligonucleotide sequences against Growth Factor Erv1-Like gene into 70% partially hepatectomized rats and studied the effect of gene silencing on the progression liver regeneration. Methods Partially hepatectomized rats were divided into three groups of animals and, before surgery, received either phosphate buffer saline, or adenoviral particles alone or adenoviral particles harboring the oligonucleotide silencing sequence. In each group, rats were sacrificed at 12, 24 and 48 h after surgery. Liver tissues were collected to analyze the expression of Augmenter of Liver Regeneration, Bax, Bcl-2 and activated Caspase-9 and -3, as well as hepatocyte proliferation and apoptosis, polyamines levels and histological and ultrastructural features. Results Growth Factor Erv1-Like gene silencing reduced the compensatory hepatocellular proliferation triggered by surgery through (i) the reduction of polyamines synthesis, hepatocyte proliferation and anti-apoptotic gene expression and (ii) the increase of pro-apoptotic gene expression and caspase activation. Conclusions For the first time, using a technique of gene silencing in vivo, our results demonstrate that Growth Factor Erv1-Like gene knock-down, i.e., the lack of Augmenter of Liver Regeneration, modifies the expression of genes involved in cell apoptosis and inhibits early phase of DNA synthesis. As a consequence, a promotion of cell death and a reduction of cell proliferation occurs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-351
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Adenovirus
  • Apoptosis
  • Gene silencing
  • Growth Factor Erv1-Like gene (GFER)
  • Mitochondria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Medicine(all)


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