ILDR2 has a negligible role in hepatic steatosis

Millings, Elizabeth Joy; De Rosa, Maria Caterina; Flee, Sarah; Watanabe, Kazuhisa; Rausch, Richard; Egli, Dietrich Meinrad; Li, Gen; LeDuc, Charles A.; Zhang, Yiying; Fischer, Stuart G.; Leibel, Rudolph L.

We have previously reported that Ildr2 knockdown via adenovirally-delivered shRNA causes hepatic steatosis in mice. In the present study we investigated hepatic biochemical and anatomic phenotypes of Cre-mediated Ildr2 knock-out mice. Liver-specific Ildr2 knock-out mice were generated in C57BL/6J mice segregating for a floxed (exon 1) allele of Ildr2, using congenital and acute (10-13-week-old male mice) Cre expression. In addition, Ildr2 shRNA was administered to Ildr2 knock-out mice to test the effects of Ildr2 shRNA, per se, in the absence of Ildr2 expression. RNA sequencing was performed on livers of these knockdown and knockout mice. Congenital and acute liver-specific and hepatocyte-specific knockout mice did not develop hepatic steatosis. However, administration of Ildr2 shRNA to Ildr2 knock-out mice did cause hepatic steatosis, indicating that the Ildr2 shRNA had apparent “off-target” effects on gene(s) other than Ildr2. RNA sequencing and BLAST sequence alignment revealed Dgka as a candidate gene mediating these “off-target” effects. Ildr2 shRNA is 63% homologous to the Dgka gene, and Dgka expression decreased only in mice displaying hepatic steatosis. Dgka encodes diacylglycerol kinase (DGK) alpha, one of a family of DGKs which convert diacylglycerides to phosphatidic acid for second messenger signaling. Dgka knockdown mice would be expected to accumulate diacylglyceride, contributing to the observed hepatic steatosis. We conclude that ILDR2 plays a negligible role in hepatic steatosis. Rather, hepatic steatosis observed previously in Ildr2 knockdown mice was likely due to shRNA targeting of Dgka and/or other “off-target” genes. We propose that the gene candidates identified in this follow-up study may lead to identification of novel regulators of hepatic lipid metabolism.


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June 24, 2018