Progressive liver fibrosis is characterized by the deposition of collagen by activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). Activation of HSCs is a multiple receptor-driven process in which profibrotic signals are enhanced and antifibrotic pathways are suppressed. Here we report the discovery of a signalling platform comprising G protein subunit, Gαi and GIV, its guanine exchange factor (GEF), which serves as a central hub within the fibrogenic signalling network initiated by diverse classes of receptors. GIV is expressed in the liver after fibrogenic injury and is required for HSC activation. Once expressed, GIV enhances the profibrotic (PI3K-Akt-FoxO1 and TGFβ-SMAD) and inhibits the antifibrotic (cAMP-PKA-pCREB) pathways to skew the signalling network in favour of fibrosis, all via activation of Gαi. We also provide evidence that GIV may serve as a biomarker for progression of fibrosis after liver injury and a therapeutic target for arresting and/or reversing HSC activation during liver fibrosis.
- Cell signalling
- Liver fibrosis