RNA Therapeutics Institute Publications


RNAi-nanoparticulate manipulation of gene expression as a new functional genomics tool in the liver

UMMS Affiliation

RNA Therapeutics Institute; Program in Molecular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology | Cell and Developmental Biology | Genetics and Genomics | Hepatology | Therapeutics


BACKGROUND and AIMS: The Hippo pathway controls organ size through a negative regulation of the transcription co-activator Yap1. The overexpression of hyperactive mutant Yap1 or deletion of key components in the Hippo pathway leads to increased organ size in different species. Analysis of interactions of this pathway with other cellular signals corroborating organ size control is limited in part due to the difficulties associated with development of rodent models.

METHODS: Here, we develop a new model of reversible induction of the liver size in mice using siRNA-nanoparticles targeting two kinases of the Hippo pathway, namely, mammalian Ste20 family kinases 1 and 2 (Mst1 and Mst2), and an upstream regulator, neurofibromatosis type II (Nf2).

RESULTS: The triple siRNAs nanoparticle-induced hepatomegaly in mice phenocopies one observed with Mst1(-/-)Mst2(-/-) liver-specific depletion, as shown by extensive proliferation of hepatocytes and activation of Yap1. The simultaneous co-treatment with a fourth siRNA nanoparticle against Yap1 fully blocked the liver growth. Hippo pathway-induced liver enlargement is associated with p53 activation, evidenced by its accumulation in the nuclei and upregulation of its target genes. Moreover, injections of the triple siRNAs nanoparticle in p53(LSL/LSL) mice shows that livers lacking p53 expression grow faster and exceed the size of livers in p53 wild-type animals, indicating a role of p53 in controlling Yap1-induced liver growth.

CONCLUSION: Our data show that siRNA-nanoparticulate manipulation of gene expression can provide the reversible control of organ size in adult animals, which presents a new avenue for the investigation of complex regulatory networks in liver.

DOI of Published Version



J Hepatol. 2016 Apr;64(4):899-907. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2015.11.028. Epub 2015 Nov 30. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of hepatology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID