Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.545, 54-61, 2021
ACTG1 regulates intervertebral disc degeneration via the NF- kB-p65 and Akt pathways
ACTG1 is a member of the actin family but is not a muscle actin gene. The ACTG1 mutation leads to hearing loss in humans, and the knockdown of ACTG1 suppresses the proliferation and migration of tumor cells; however, its role in intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is yet unclear. Bioinformatics methods revealed that ACTG1 might be a hub gene in IDD. Furthermore, the expression ACTG1 in severely degenerated nucleus pulposus (NP) tissues (Pfirrmann grade IV and V) was low as compared to that in mildly degenerated samples (Pfirrmann grade II and III). Moreover, the ACTG1 level was negatively correlated with human disc degeneration grades. The low expression of ACTG1 is also found in degenerated NP tissues in the rat. To further explore the function of ACTG1 in IDD, the gene expression was depleted in human NP cells via siRNA transfection. The ablation of ACTG1 increased MMP3 expression but decreased the level of collagen II. Excessive apoptosis was observed in ACTG1 knockdown groups, indicating that the absence of ACTG1 exacerbated IDD. GO function and pathway enrichment analysis for differentially expressed genes (DEGs) of two microarray datasets (GSE56081 and GSE42611) indicated that inflammatory response plays a crucial role in IDD. Interestingly, in the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network, ACTG1 is connected to the proteins of inflammation-related pathways. Furthermore, ACTG1 knockdown upregulated P-P65 level but suppressed P-Akt expression. These data collectively demonstrated that ACTG1 regulated the development of IDD through the NF-kB-p65 and Akt pathways, and ACTG1 may be a novel marker and therapeutic target of IDD in the future. (c) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).