Author(s): Lai Pen1, Stephanie C. Piekos, Grace L. Guo, and Xiao-bo Zhong
The liver is a vital organ with critical functions in metabolism of various biologically useful materials, synthesis of several vital proteins, detoxification of toxic substances, and immune defense. Most liver functions are not mature at birth and many changes happen during postnatal liver development, which lead to differential vulnerabilities of the liver at different developmental stages. However, the details of what changes occur in liver after birth, at what developmental stages they occur, and molecular mechanisms in the regulation of the developmental process are not clearly known. The nuclear receptor Farnesoid X receptor (FXR) is an important transcriptional regulator in liver. Here, we used RNA-Sequencing to analyze the transcriptome of mouse liver from perinatal to adult ages in both C57BL/6 and Fxr−/− mice. We have defined a clear timeline of functional transition from prenatal through neonatal and adolescent to adult in C57BL/6 mice. Without FXR, activation of neonatal-specific pathways was prolonged and maturation of multiple metabolic pathways was delayed. The loss of FXR also led to increased expression of 27 other transcription regulators. Our data support a conclusion that developmental transcriptome revealed significant functional transition during postnatal liver development and FXR plays an important role in control of postnatal liver maturation.