Deletion of interleukin enhancer binding factor 2 (ILF2) resulted in defective biliary development and bile flow blockage

Yim Cheung, Zhongluan Wu, Maria Mercedes Garcia-Barcelo, Paul Kwong Hang Tam, Alvin Chung Hang Ma, Vincent Chi Hang Lui

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Biliary atresia (BA) is a devastating obstructive bile duct disease of newborns. BA has the highest incidence in Asians (1/5000), and its pathogenesis is unclear. We identified BA-private rare copy number variants (CNVs; 22 duplications and 6 deletions). ILF2 gene locates in the chromosome region (Chr1:153410347–153,634,058) which was deleted in a nonsyndromic BA patient. However, it is still not known whether ILF2 plays a role in hepatobiliary development and its deletion impacts on the bile duct development. Methods: To investigate if ILF2 is required for biliary development, we knock-out the zebrafish homologs of ILF2 by CRISPR/Cas9 approach, and discover that deletion of ILF2 causes a defective biliary development and a lack of bile flow from the liver to the gall bladder in zebrafish, which is a resemblance of phenotypes of BA. Results: Our data indicate that ILF2 gene is required for biliary development; deletion of ILF2 impairs bile duct development and could contribute to BA pathogenesis. This will be the first study to functionally evaluate the genes interfered by BA-private CNVs in hepatobiliary development and in BA pathogenesis. Conclusions: Such functional study may reveal the potential value of these BA-private CNVs in the disease pathogenesis for BA. Level of evidence: N/A (animal and laboratory study).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-359
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Bile duct
  • Biliary atresia
  • ILF2
  • Liver
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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