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Hepatic stellate cells (HSC) are critical effector cells of liver fibrosis. In the injured liver, HSC differentiate into a myofibrobastic phenotype. A critical feature distinguishing myofibroblastic from quiescent HSC is cytoskeletal reorganization. Soluble NSF attachment receptor (SNARE) proteins are important in trafficking of newly synthesized proteins to the plasma membrane for release into the extracellular environment. The goals of this project were to determine the expression of specific SNARE proteins in myofibroblastic HSC and to test whether their alteration changed the HSC phenotype in vitro and progression of liver fibrosis in vivo. We found that HSC lack the t-SNARE protein, SNAP-25, but express a homologous protein, SNAP-23. Downregulation of SNAP-23 in HSC induced reduction in polymerization and disorganization of the actin cytoskeleton associated with loss of cell movement. In contrast, reduction in SNAP-23 in mice by monogenic deletion delayed but did not prevent progression of liver fibrosis to cirrhosis. Taken together, these findings suggest that SNAP-23 is an important regular of actin dynamics in myofibroblastic HSC, but that the role of SNAP-23 in the progression of liver fibrosis in vivo is unclear.


Haleigh B Eubanks, Elise G Lavoie, Jessica Goree, Jeffrey A Kamykowski, Neriman Gokden, Michel Fausther, Jonathan A Dranoff. Reduction in SNAP-23 Alters Microfilament Organization in Myofibrobastic Hepatic Stellate Cells. Gene expression. 2020 Jun 12;20(1):25-37

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PMID: 31757226

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