In vivo screening identifies SPP2, a secreted factor that negatively regulates liver regeneration

Yu Hsuan Lin, Qiyu Zeng, Yuemeng Jia, Zixi Wang, Lin Li, Meng Hsiung Hsieh, Qiang Cheng, Chase A. Pagani, Nicholas Livingston, Jeon Lee, Yu Zhang, Tripti Sharma, Daniel J. Siegwart, Dean Yimlamai, Benjamin Levi, Hao Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: The liver is remarkably regenerative and can completely recover even when 80% of its mass is surgically removed. Identification of secreted factors that regulate liver growth would help us understand how organ size and regeneration are controlled but also provide candidate targets to promote regeneration or impair cancer growth. Approach and Results: To enrich for secreted factors that regulate growth control, we induced massive liver overgrowth with either YAP or MYC. Differentially expressed secreted factors were identified in these livers using transcriptomic analysis. To rank candidates by functionality, we performed in vivo CRISPR screening using the Fah knockout model of tyrosinemia. We identified secreted phosphoprotein-2 (SPP2) as a secreted factor that negatively regulates regeneration. Spp2-deficient mice showed increased survival after acetaminophen poisoning and reduced fibrosis after repeated carbon tetrachloride injections. We examined the impact of SPP2 on bone morphogenetic protein signaling in liver cells and found that SPP2 antagonized bone morphogenetic protein signaling in vitro and in vivo. We also identified cell-surface receptors that interact with SPP2 using a proximity biotinylation assay coupled with mass spectrometry. We showed that SPP2's interactions with integrin family members are in part responsible for some of the regeneration phenotypes. Conclusions: Using an in vivo CRISPR screening system, we identified SPP2 as a secreted factor that negatively regulates liver regeneration. This study provides ways to identify, validate, and characterize secreted factors in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1133-1148
Number of pages16
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes


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