Quantitative Proteomic Study Unmasks Fibrinogen Pathway in Polycystic Liver Disease

Biomedicines. 2022 Jan 27;10(2):290. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines10020290.


(1) Background: Polycystic liver disease (PLD) is a heterogeneous group of congenital disorders characterized by bile duct dilatation and cyst development derived from cholangiocytes. Nevertheless, the cystogenesis mechanism is currently unknown and the PLD treatment is limited to liver transplantation. Novel and efficient therapeutic approaches are th6us needed. In this context, the present work has a principal aim to find novel molecular pathways, as well as new therapeutic targets, involved in the hepatic cystogenesis process. (2) Methods: Quantitative proteomics based on SWATH-MS technology were performed comparing hepatic proteomes of Wild Type and mutant/polycystic livers in a polycystic kidney disease (PKD) murine model (Pkd1cond/cond;Tam-Cre-/+). (3) Results: We identified several proteins altered in abundance, with two-fold cut-off up-regulation or down-regulation and an adjusted p-value significantly related to hepatic cystogenesis. Then, we performed enrichment and a protein-protein analysis identifying a cluster focused on hepatic fibrinogens. Finally, we validated a selection of targets by RT-qPCR, Western blotting and immunohistochemistry, finding a high correlation with quantitative proteomics data and validating the fibrinogen complex. (4) Conclusions: This work identified a novel molecular pathway in cystic liver disease, highlighting the fibrinogen complex as a possible new therapeutic target for PLD.

Keywords: PLD; SWATH; quantitative proteomics; therapeutic targets.