Modification of Gas6 protein in the brain by a functional endogenous tissue vitamin K cycle

Nadide Aydin, Bouchra Ouliass, Guylaine Ferland, Sassan Hafizi

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The TAM receptor ligand Gas6 is known for regulating inflammatory and immune pathways in various organs including the brain. Gas6 becomes fully functional through the post-translational modification of multiple glutamic acid residues into γ-carboxyglutamic in a vitamin K-dependent manner. However, the significance of this mechanism in the brain is not known. We report here the endogenous expression of multiple components of the vitamin K cycle within the mouse brain at various ages as well as in distinct brain glial cells. The brain expression of all genes was increased in the postnatal ages, mirroring their profiles in the liver. In microglia, the proinflammatory agent lipopolysaccharide caused the downregulation of all key vitamin K cycle genes. A secreted Gas6 protein was detected in the medium of both mouse cerebellar slices and brain glial cell cultures. Furthermore, the endogenous Gas6 γ-carboxylation level was abolished through incubation with the vitamin K antagonist warfarin and could be restored through co-incubation with vitamin K1. Finally, the γ-carboxylation level of the Gas6 protein within the brains of warfarin-treated rats was found to be significantly reduced ex vivo compared to the control brains. In conclusion, we demonstrated for the first time the existence of a functional vitamin K cycle within rodent brains, which regulates the functional modification of endogenous brain Gas6. These results indicate that vitamin K is an important nutrient for the brain. Furthermore, the measurement of vitamin K-dependent Gas6 functionality could be an indicator of homeostatic or disease mechanisms in the brain, such as in neurological disorders where Gas6/TAM signalling is impaired.
Original languageEnglish
Article number873
Number of pages20
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2024


  • Gas6
  • TAM receptor
  • vitamin K
  • warfarin
  • glia
  • microglia
  • γ-carboxylation
  • γ-carboxyglutamic acid
  • neuroinflammation
  • neurodegenerative disease
  • nutrition

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