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Transcriptome analysis of IPF fibroblastic foci identifies key pathways involved in fibrogenesis

Guillotin, D; Taylor, AR; Platé, M; Mercer, PF; Edwards, LM; Haggart, R; Miele, G; ... Chambers, RC; + view all (2020) Transcriptome analysis of IPF fibroblastic foci identifies key pathways involved in fibrogenesis. Thorax , 76 (1) pp. 73-82. 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2020-214902. Green open access

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Fibroblastic foci represent the cardinal pathogenic lesion in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and comprise activated fibroblasts and myofibroblasts, the key effector cells responsible for dysregulated extracellular matrix deposition in multiple fibrotic conditions. The aim of this study was to define the major transcriptional programmes involved in fibrogenesis in IPF by profiling unmanipulated myofibroblasts within fibrotic foci in situ by laser capture microdissection. METHODS: The challenges associated with deriving gene calls from low amounts of RNA and the absence of a meaningful comparator cell type were overcome by adopting novel data mining strategies and by using weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA), as well as an eigengene-based approach to identify transcriptional signatures, which correlate with fibrillar collagen gene expression. RESULTS: WGCNA identified prominent clusters of genes associated with cell cycle, inflammation/differentiation, translation and cytoskeleton/cell adhesion. Collagen eigengene analysis revealed that transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1), RhoA kinase and the TSC2/RHEB axis formed major signalling clusters associated with collagen gene expression. Functional studies using CRISPR-Cas9 gene-edited cells demonstrated a key role for the TSC2/RHEB axis in regulating TGF-β1-induced mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 activation and collagen I deposition in mesenchymal cells reflecting IPF and other disease settings, including cancer-associated fibroblasts. CONCLUSION: These data provide strong support for the human tissue-based and bioinformatics approaches adopted to identify critical transcriptional nodes associated with the key pathogenic cell responsible for fibrogenesis in situ and further identify the TSC2/RHEB axis as a potential novel target for interfering with excessive matrix deposition in IPF and other fibrotic conditions.

Type: Article
Title: Transcriptome analysis of IPF fibroblastic foci identifies key pathways involved in fibrogenesis
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2020-214902
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1136/thoraxjnl-2020-214902
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute > Research Department of Oncology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine > Respiratory Medicine
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10117601
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