Haploinsufficiency of Hedgehog interacting protein causes increased emphysema induced by cigarette smoke through network rewiring

Taotao Lao, Kimberly Glass, Weiliang Qiu, Francesca Polverino, Kushagra Gupta, Jarrett Morrow, John Dominic Mancini, Linh Vuong, Mark A. Perrella, Craig P. Hersh, Caroline A. Owen, John Quackenbush, Guo Cheng Yuan, Edwin K. Silverman, Xiaobo Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background: The HHIP gene, encoding Hedgehog interacting protein, has been implicated in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by genome-wide association studies (GWAS), and our subsequent studies identified a functional upstream genetic variant that decreased HHIP transcription. However, little is known about how HHIP contributes to COPD pathogenesis. Methods: We exposed Hhip haploinsufficient mice (Hhip +/- ) to cigarette smoke (CS) for 6 months to model the biological consequences caused by CS in human COPD risk-allele carriers at the HHIP locus. Gene expression profiling in murine lungs was performed followed by an integrative network inference analysis, PANDA (Passing Attributes between Networks for Data Assimilation) analysis. Results: We detected more severe airspace enlargement in Hhip +/- mice vs. wild-type littermates (Hhip +/+ ) exposed to CS. Gene expression profiling in murine lungs suggested enhanced lymphocyte activation pathways in CS-exposed Hhip +/- vs. Hhip +/+ mice, which was supported by increased numbers of lymphoid aggregates and enhanced activation of CD8+ T cells after CS-exposure in the lungs of Hhip +/- mice compared to Hhip +/+ mice. Mechanistically, results from PANDA network analysis suggested a rewired and dampened Klf4 signaling network in Hhip +/- mice after CS exposure. Conclusions: In summary, HHIP haploinsufficiency exaggerated CS-induced airspace enlargement, which models CS-induced emphysema in human smokers carrying COPD risk alleles at the HHIP locus. Network modeling suggested rewired lymphocyte activation signaling circuits in the HHIP haploinsufficiency state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
JournalGenome Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 14 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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