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Yeseong Hwang 1 Article
Basic Research
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DGAT2 Plays a Crucial Role to Control ESRRAPROX1 Transcriptional Network to Maintain Hepatic Mitochondrial Sustainability
Yoseob Lee, Yeseong Hwang, Minki Kim, Hyeonuk Jeon, Seyeon Joo, Sungsoon Fang, Jae-Woo Kim
Received October 13, 2023  Accepted December 11, 2023  Published online April 22, 2024  
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4093/dmj.2023.0368    [Epub ahead of print]
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Background
Diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase 2 (DGAT2) synthesizes triacylglycerol (TG) from diacylglycerol; therefore, DGAT2 is considered as a therapeutic target for steatosis. However, the consequence of inhibiting DGAT2 is not fully investigated due to side effects including lethality and lipotoxicity. In this article, we observed the role of DGAT2 in hepatocarcinoma.
Methods
The role of DGAT2 is analyzed via loss-of-function assay. DGAT2 knockdown (KD) and inhibitor treatment on HepG2 cell line was analyzed. Cumulative analysis of cell metabolism with bioinformatic data were assessed, and further compared with different cohorts of liver cancer patients and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients to elucidate how DGAT2 is regulating cancer metabolism.
Results
Mitochondrial function is suppressed in DGAT2 KD HepG2 cell along with the decreased lipid droplets. In the aspect of the cancer, DGAT2 KD upregulates cell proliferation. Analyzing transcriptome of NAFLD and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients highlights negatively correlating expression patterns of 73 lipid-associated genes including DGAT2. Cancer patients with the lower DGAT2 expression face lower survival rate. DGAT2 KD cell and patients’ transcriptome show downregulation in estrogen- related receptor alpha (ESRRA) via integrated system for motif activity response analysis (ISMARA), with increased dimerization with corepressor prospero homeobox 1 (PROX1).
Conclusion
DGAT2 sustains the stability of mitochondria in hepatoma via suppressing ESRRA-PROX1 transcriptional network and hinders HCC from shifting towards glycolytic metabolism, which lowers cell proliferation.

Diabetes Metab J : Diabetes & Metabolism Journal
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