Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 3 pp 4452—4467
Modeling paraquat-induced lung fibrosis in C. elegans reveals KRIT1 as a key regulator of collagen gene transcription
- 1 Department of Emergency, Hainan General Hospital, Hainan Affiliated Hospital of Hainan Medical University, Haikou 570311, Hainan, China
- 2 Hunan Yuantai Biotechnology Co., Ltd, Changsha 410000, Hunan, China
How to Cite
Paraquat poisoning causes lung fibrosis, which often results in long-term pulmonary dysfunction. Lung fibrosis has been attributed to collagens accumulation, but the underlying regulatory pathway remains unclear. Here we use the genetically tractable C. elegans as a model to study collagen gene transcription in response to paraquat. We find that paraquat robustly up-regulates collagen gene transcription, which is dependent on KRI-1, a poorly studied protein homologous to human KRIT1/CCM1. KRI-1 knockdown prevents paraquat from activating the oxidative stress response transcription factor SKN-1/Nrf2, resulting in reduced collagen transcription and increased paraquat sensitivity. Using human lung fibroblasts (MRC-5), we confirm that both KRIT1 and Nrf2 are required for collagen transcription in response to paraquat. Nrf2 hyper-activation by KEAP1 knockdown bypasses KRIT1 to up-regulate collagen transcription. Our findings on the regulation of collagen gene transcription by paraquat could suggest potential strategies to treat pulmonary fibrosis caused by paraquat poisoning.