Knocking out Fkbp51 decreases CCl4-induced liver injury through enhancement of mitochondrial function and Parkin activity

Bin Qiu, Zhaohui Zhong, Longyu Dou, Yuxue Xu, Yi Zou, Korri Weldon, Jun Wang, Lingling Zhang, Ming Liu, Kent E. Williams, John Paul Spence, Richard L. Bell, Zhao Lai, Weidong Yong, Tiebing Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: Previously, we found that FK506 binding protein 51 (Fkbp51) knockout (KO) mice resist high fat diet-induced fatty liver and alcohol-induced liver injury. The aim of this research is to identify the mechanism of Fkbp51 in liver injury. Methods: Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver injury was compared between Fkbp51 KO and wild type (WT) mice. Step-wise and in-depth analyses were applied, including liver histology, biochemistry, RNA-Seq, mitochondrial respiration, electron microscopy, and molecular assessments. The selective FKBP51 inhibitor (SAFit2) was tested as a potential treatment to ameliorate liver injury. Results: Fkbp51 knockout mice exhibited protection against liver injury, as evidenced by liver histology, reduced fibrosis-associated markers and lower serum liver enzyme levels. RNA-seq identified differentially expressed genes and involved pathways, such as fibrogenesis, inflammation, mitochondria, and oxidative metabolism pathways and predicted the interaction of FKBP51, Parkin, and HSP90. Cellular studies supported co-localization of Parkin and FKBP51 in the mitochondrial network, and Parkin was shown to be expressed higher in the liver of KO mice at baseline and after liver injury relative to WT. Further functional analysis identified that KO mice exhibited increased ATP production and enhanced mitochondrial respiration. KO mice have increased mitochondrial size, increased autophagy/mitophagy and mitochondrial-derived vesicles (MDV), and reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, which supports enhancement of mitochondrial quality control (MQC). Application of SAFit2, an FKBP51 inhibitor, reduced the effects of CCl4-induced liver injury and was associated with increased Parkin, pAKT, and ATP production. Conclusions: Downregulation of FKBP51 represents a promising therapeutic target for liver disease treatment. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalCell and Bioscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


  • FK506binding protein 5/Fkbp51
  • Liver disease treatment
  • Mitochondrial quality control (MQC)
  • RNA-seq
  • SAFit2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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