Ubiquitin-specific protease as the underlying gene biomarker for aortic stenosis

Yin Yang, Lian-Qun Wang, Bo-Chen Yao, Zhi-Gang Guo
Lipids in Health and Disease 2020 May 29, 19 (1): 115

BACKGROUND: Aortic stenosis is a common heart valvular disease whose pathological processes include an inflammatory reaction and lipid accumulation. However, its detailed pathogenesis is yet to be completely elucidated. Therefore, it is of great significance to further explore the molecular mechanisms of aortic stenosis.

METHODS: Four datasets were downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. Firstly, the differently expressed genes (DEGs) were screened between control and aortic stenosis samples. Secondly, weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) was performed to find the highly relevant gene modules. Enrichment analysis and protein-protein interaction (PPI) networking were also performed, then Cytoscape was used to identify hub genes. Finally, the six participants (3 control participants and 3 patients with aortic stenosis) were recruited at the Tianjin Chest Hospital. In order to verify the expression level of USP14, several molecular experiments were performed, including hematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence technology, real time-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), and western blotting.

RESULTS: A total of 9636 DEGs were found between the control and aortic stenosis samples. The DEGs were mainly enriched in the autophagy-animal, cellular lipid catabolic process, apoptosis, and glycoside metabolic process categories. Eleven hub genes were identified via four different algorithms. Following verification of the patient samples, Ubiquitin-specific protease 14 (USP14) was found to be displayed at higher levels in the aortic stenosis samples.

CONCLUSION: USP14 might be involved in the occurrence and development of aortic stenosis, so it would be a molecular target for early diagnosis and specific treatment of aortic stenosis. There is a significant association between the high expression of USP14 and aortic stenosis, indicating that this gene may be a genetic risk factor for aortic stenosis.

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