A Review of the Scaffold Protein Menin and its Role in Hepatobiliary Pathology

Laurent Ehrlich, Chad Hall, Fanyin Meng, Terry Lairmore, Gianfranco Alpini, Shannon Glaser
Gene Expression 2017 July 7, 17 (3): 251-263
Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is a familial cancer syndrome with neuroendocrine tumorigenesis of the parathyroid glands, pituitary gland, and pancreatic islet cells. The MEN1 gene codes for the canonical tumor suppressor protein, menin. Its protein structure has recently been crystallized, and it has been investigated in a multitude of other tissues. In this review, we summarize recent advancements in understanding the structure of the menin protein and its function as a scaffold protein in histone modification and epigenetic gene regulation. Furthermore, we explore its role in hepatobiliary autoimmune diseases, cancers, and metabolic diseases. In particular, we discuss how menin expression and function are regulated by extracellular signaling factors and nuclear receptor activation in various hepatic cell types. How the many signaling pathways and tissue types affect menin's diverse functions is not fully understood. We show that small-molecule inhibitors affecting menin function can shed light on menin's broad role in pathophysiology and elucidate distinct menin-dependent processes. This review reveals menin's often dichotomous function through analysis of its role in multiple disease processes and could potentially lead to novel small-molecule therapies in the treatment of cholangiocarcinoma or biliary autoimmune diseases.

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