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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 267350, 13 pages
Research Article

Lipopolysaccharide Stimulates p62-Dependent Autophagy-Like Aggregate Clearance in Hepatocytes

1Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, NW607 MUH, 3459 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
2Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
3Center for Biologic Imaging, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

Received 7 April 2013; Revised 18 November 2013; Accepted 26 November 2013; Published 10 February 2014

Academic Editor: Hartmut Jaeschke

Copyright © 2014 Christine Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Impairment of autophagy has been associated with liver injury. TLR4-stimulation by LPS upregulates autophagy in hepatocytes, although the signaling pathways involved remain elusive. The objective of this study was to determine the signaling pathway leading to LPS-stimulated autophagy in hepatocytes. Cell lysates from livers of wild type (WT; C57BL/6) mice given LPS (5 mg/kg-IP) and hepatocytes from WT, TLR4ko, and MyD88ko mice treated with LPS (100 ng/mL) up to 24 h were collected. LC3II, p62/SQSTM1, Nrf2, and beclin1 levels were determined by immunoblot, immunofluorescence, and qPCR. Autophagy-like activation was measured by GFP-LC3-puncta formation and LC3II-expression. Beclin1, Nrf2, p62, MyD88, and TIRAP were knocked-down using siRNA. LC3II-expression increased in both liver and hepatocytes after LPS and was dependent on TLR4. Beclin1 expression did not increase after LPS in hepatocytes and beclin1-knockdown did not affect LC3II levels. In hepatocytes given LPS, expression of p62 increased and p62 colocalized with LC3. p62-knockdown prevented LC3II puncta formation. LPS-induced LC3II/p62-puncta also required MyD88/TIRAP signaling and localization of both Nrf2 and NFκB transcription factors to the nucleus to upregulate p62-expression. Therefore, TLR4-activation by LPS in hepatocytes induces a p62-mediated, not beclin1-mediated, autophagy-like clearance pathway that is hepatoprotective by clearing aggregate-prone or misfolded proteins from the cytosol and preserving energy homeostasis under stress.