Gene Summary

Gene:WWTR1; WW domain containing transcription regulator 1
Aliases: TAZ
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:WW domain-containing transcription regulator protein 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 01 September, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (30)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Soft Tissue Cancers
  • Apoptosis
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • FISH
  • Western Blotting
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Disease Progression
  • Cancer Stem Cells
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liver Cancer
  • Soft Tissue Sarcoma
  • Phenotype
  • DNA Methylation
  • Phosphorylation
  • Chromosome 3
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Hemangioendothelioma, Epithelioid
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Transcription
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Lung Cancer
  • Cell Movement
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • c-Mer Tyrosine Kinase
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Drug Resistance
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • TNF Receptor-Associated Factor 2
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Bone Cancer
  • MicroRNAs
  • Signal Transducing Adaptor Proteins
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
Tag cloud generated 01 September, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Latest Publications: WWTR1 (cancer-related)

Huang TS, Lee JJ, Li YS, Cheng SP
Ethacridine Induces Apoptosis and Differentiation in Thyroid Cancer Cells
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(8):4095-4100 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Ethacridine is used as a topical antiseptic as well as for second-trimester abortion. Recent studies showed that ethacridine is an inhibitor of poly(ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase (PARG) and an activator of the transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ). This study examined the effects of ethacridine on thyroid cancer cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thyroid cancer cell lines (FTC133 and SW1736) and thyroid follicular epithelial cells (Nthy-ori 3-1) were treated with ethacridine. Viability, clonogenicity, cell-cycle distribution, and apoptosis were evaluated. The expression of thyroid differentiation markers (TTF-1, PAX8, and NIS) was determined by real-time PCR.
RESULTS: Ethacridine suppressed cell growth and clonogenic ability of thyroid cancer cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner (p<0.001). No cell-cycle arrest was found, but ethacridine dose-dependently induced apoptosis of thyroid cancer cells (p<0.001). The PAX8 and NIS expressions were significantly increased in SW1736 (3.41-fold and 1.53-fold, respectively) and Nthy-ori 3-1 cells (2.73-fold and 4.12-fold, respectively).
CONCLUSION: Ethacridine elicits apoptotic cell death in thyroid cancer cells and promotes differentiation in a subset of thyroid follicular cells.

Ding Y, He J, Huang J, et al.
Harmine induces anticancer activity in breast cancer cells via targeting TAZ.
Int J Oncol. 2019; 54(6):1995-2004 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Harmine (HM) is a β‑carboline alkaloid found in multiple medicinal plants. It has been used in folk medicine for anticancer therapy; however, the molecular mechanism of HM on human breast cancer remains unclear. Transcriptional co‑activator with PDZ‑binding motif (TAZ), also known as WW domain‑containing transcription regulator 1, serves an important role in the carcinogenesis and progression of breast cancer. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the potential anticancer activity and mechanism of HM in breast cancer, in vitro and in vivo. Cell proliferation was measured using a CCK‑8 assay, apoptotic activity was detected by flow cytometry and DAPI staining, and cell migration was examined using a wound healing assay. The expression of proteins, including extracellular signal‑regulate kinase (Erk), phosphorylated (p‑) Erk, protein kinase B (Akt), p‑Akt, B‑cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl‑2) and Bcl‑2‑associated X protein (Bax), were determined by western blotting. The mRNA expression of TAZ was detected using reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis. The expression of proteins in mouse tumor tissues were examined by immunohistochemistry. HM significantly suppressed cellular proliferation and migration, promoted apoptosis in vitro and inhibited tumor growth in vivo. In addition, HM significantly decreased the expression of TAZ, p‑Erk, p‑Akt and Bcl‑2, but increased that of Bax. The overexpression of TAZ in breast cancer cells inhibited the antitumor effect of HM. In conclusion, HM was found to induce apoptosis and prevent the proliferation and migration of human breast cancer cell lines, possibly via the downregulation of TAZ.

Keller M, Dubois F, Teulier S, et al.
NDR2 kinase contributes to cell invasion and cytokinesis defects induced by the inactivation of RASSF1A tumor-suppressor gene in lung cancer cells.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2019; 38(1):158 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: RASSF1A, a tumor suppressor gene, is frequently inactivated in lung cancer leading to a YAP-dependent epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Such effects are partly due to the inactivation of the anti-migratory RhoB GTPase via the inhibitory phosphorylation of GEF-H1, the GDP/GTP exchange factor for RhoB. However, the kinase responsible for RhoB/GEF-H1 inactivation in RASSF1A-depleted cells remained unknown.
METHODS: NDR1/2 inactivation by siRNA or shRNA effects on epithelial-mesenchymal transition, invasion, xenograft formation and growth in SCID-/- Beige mice, apoptosis, proliferation, cytokinesis, YAP/TAZ activation were investigated upon RASSF1A loss in human bronchial epithelial cells (HBEC).
RESULTS: We demonstrate here that depletion of the YAP-kinases NDR1/2 reverts migration and metastatic properties upon RASSF1A loss in HBEC. We show that NDR2 interacts directly with GEF-H1 (which contains the NDR phosphorylation consensus motif HXRXXS/T), leading to GEF-H1 phosphorylation. We further report that the RASSF1A/NDR2/GEF-H1/RhoB/YAP axis is involved in proper cytokinesis in human bronchial cells, since chromosome proper segregation are NDR-dependent upon RASSF1A or GEF-H1 loss in HBEC.
CONCLUSION: To summarize, our data support a model in which, upon RASSF1A silencing, NDR2 gets activated, phosphorylates and inactivates GEF-H1, leading to RhoB inactivation. This cascade induced by RASSF1A loss in bronchial cells is responsible for metastasis properties, YAP activation and cytokinesis defects.

Guo C, Liang C, Yang J, et al.
LATS2 inhibits cell proliferation and metastasis through the Hippo signaling pathway in glioma.
Oncol Rep. 2019; 41(5):2753-2761 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
As a core kinase in the Hippo pathway, large tumor suppressor kinase 2 (LATS2) regulates cell proliferation, migration and invasion through numerous signaling pathways. However, its functions on cell proliferation, migration and invasion in glioma have yet to be elucidated. The present study revealed that LATS2 was downregulated in glioma tissues and cells, as determined by reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry. In addition, Cell Counting Kit‑8, scratch wound healing and Transwell assays revealed that overexpression of LATS2 in U‑372 MG cells inhibited cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Furthermore, western blot analysis indicated that the expression levels of phosphorylated (p)‑yes‑associated protein and p‑tafazzin were increased in cells with LATS2 overexpression. These results indicated that LATS2 is a potential tumor suppressor, and downregulation of LATS2 in glioma may contribute to cancer progression.

Van Haele M, Moya IM, Karaman R, et al.
YAP and TAZ Heterogeneity in Primary Liver Cancer: An Analysis of Its Prognostic and Diagnostic Role.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(3) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Primary liver cancer comprises a diverse group of liver tumors. The heterogeneity of these tumors is seen as one of the obstacles to finding an effective therapy. The Hippo pathway, with its downstream transcriptional co-activator Yes-associated protein (YAP) and transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ), has a decisive role in the carcinogenesis of primary liver cancer. Therefore, we examined the expression pattern of YAP and TAZ in 141 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma keratin 19 positive (HCC K19⁺), hepatocellular carcinoma keratin 19 negative (HCC K19

Ferrari N, Ranftl R, Chicherova I, et al.
Dickkopf-3 links HSF1 and YAP/TAZ signalling to control aggressive behaviours in cancer-associated fibroblasts.
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):130 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aggressive behaviours of solid tumours are highly influenced by the tumour microenvironment. Multiple signalling pathways can affect the normal function of stromal fibroblasts in tumours, but how these events are coordinated to generate tumour-promoting cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) is not well understood. Here we show that stromal expression of Dickkopf-3 (DKK3) is associated with aggressive breast, colorectal and ovarian cancers. We demonstrate that DKK3 is a HSF1 effector that modulates the pro-tumorigenic behaviour of CAFs in vitro and in vivo. DKK3 orchestrates a concomitant activation of β-catenin and YAP/TAZ. Whereas β-catenin is dispensable for CAF-mediated ECM remodelling, cancer cell growth and invasion, DKK3-driven YAP/TAZ activation is required to induce tumour-promoting phenotypes. Mechanistically, DKK3 in CAFs acts via canonical Wnt signalling by interfering with the negative regulator Kremen and increasing cell-surface levels of LRP6. This work reveals an unpredicted link between HSF1, Wnt signalling and YAP/TAZ relevant for the generation of tumour-promoting CAFs.

Zhang S, Zhang H, Ghia EM, et al.
Inhibition of chemotherapy resistant breast cancer stem cells by a ROR1 specific antibody.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019; 116(4):1370-1377 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Breast cancers enduring treatment with chemotherapy may be enriched for cancer stem cells or tumor-initiating cells, which have an enhanced capacity for self-renewal, tumor initiation, and/or metastasis. Breast cancer cells that express the type I tyrosine kinaselike orphan receptor ROR1 also may have such features. Here we find that the expression of ROR1 increased in breast cancer cells following treatment with chemotherapy, which also enhanced expression of genes induced by the activation of Rho-GTPases, Hippo-YAP/TAZ, or B lymphoma Mo-MLV insertion region 1 homolog (BMI1). Expression of ROR1 also enhanced the capacity of breast cancer cells to invade Matrigel, form spheroids, engraft in Rag2

Callus BA, Finch-Edmondson ML, Fletcher S, Wilton SD
YAPping about and not forgetting TAZ.
FEBS Lett. 2019; 593(3):253-276 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Hippo pathway has emerged as a major eukaryotic signalling pathway and is increasingly the subject of intense interest, as are the key effectors of canonical Hippo signalling, YES-associated protein (YAP) and TAZ. The Hippo pathway has key roles in diverse biological processes, including network signalling regulation, development, organ growth, tissue repair and regeneration, cancer, stem cell regulation and mechanotransduction. YAP and TAZ are multidomain proteins and function as transcriptional coactivators of key genes to evoke their biological effects. YAP and TAZ interact with numerous partners and their activities are controlled by a complex set of processes. This review provides an overview of Hippo signalling and its role in growth. In particular, the functional domains of YAP and TAZ and the complex mechanisms that regulate their protein stability and activity are discussed. Notably, the similarities and key differences are highlighted between the two paralogues including which partner proteins interact with which functional domains to regulate their activity.

Lamar JM, Xiao Y, Norton E, et al.
SRC tyrosine kinase activates the YAP/TAZ axis and thereby drives tumor growth and metastasis.
J Biol Chem. 2019; 294(7):2302-2317 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
When properly employed, targeted therapies are effective cancer treatments. However, the development of such therapies requires the identification of targetable drivers of cancer development and metastasis. The expression and nuclear localization of the transcriptional coactivators Yes-associated protein (YAP) and transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) are increased in many human cancers, and experimental evidence indicates that aberrant YAP or TAZ activation drives tumor formation and metastasis. Although these findings make YAP and TAZ appealing therapeutic targets, both have important functions in adult tissues, so directly targeting them could cause adverse effects. The identification of pathways active in cancer cells and required for YAP/TAZ activity could provide a way to inhibit YAP and TAZ. Here, we show that SRC proto-oncogene, nonreceptor tyrosine kinase (SRC) is an important driver of YAP/TAZ activity in human breast cancer and melanoma cells. SRC activation increased YAP/TAZ activity and the expression of YAP/TAZ-regulated genes. In contrast, SRC inhibition or knockdown repressed both YAP/TAZ activity and the expression of YAP/TAZ-regulated genes. We also show that SRC increases the activity of YAP and TAZ by repressing large tumor suppressor homolog (LATS), and we identify the GTPase-activating protein GIT ArfGAP 1 (GIT1) as an SRC effector that regulates both YAP and TAZ. Importantly, we demonstrate that SRC-mediated YAP/TAZ activity promotes tumor growth and enhances metastasis and that SRC-dependent tumor progression depends, at least in part, on YAP and TAZ. Our findings suggest that therapies targeting SRC could help manage some YAP/TAZ-dependent cancers.

Pisanu ME, Maugeri-Saccà M, Fattore L, et al.
Inhibition of Stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 reverts BRAF and MEK inhibition-induced selection of cancer stem cells in BRAF-mutated melanoma.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2018; 37(1):318 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Combination therapy with BRAF and MEK inhibitors significantly improves survival in BRAF mutated melanoma patients but is unable to prevent disease recurrence due to the emergence of drug resistance. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been involved in these long-term treatment failures. We previously reported in lung cancer that CSCs maintenance is due to altered lipid metabolism and dependent upon Stearoyl-CoA-desaturase (SCD1)-mediated upregulation of YAP and TAZ. On this ground, we investigated the role of SCD1 in melanoma CSCs.
METHODS: SCD1 gene expression data of melanoma patients were downloaded from TCGA and correlated with disease progression by bioinformatics analysis and confirmed on patient's tissues by qRT-PCR and IHC analyses. The effects of combination of BRAF/MEKi and the SCD1 inhibitor MF-438 were monitored by spheroid-forming and proliferation assays on a panel of BRAF-mutated melanoma cell lines grown in 3D and 2D conditions, respectively. SCD1, YAP/TAZ and stemness markers were evaluated in melanoma cells and tissues by qRT-PCR, WB and Immunofluorescence.
RESULTS: We first observed that SCD1 expression increases during melanoma progression. BRAF-mutated melanoma 3D cultures enriched for CSCs overexpressed SCD1 and were more resistant than 2D differentiated cultures to BRAF and MEK inhibitors. We next showed that exposure of BRAF-mutated melanoma cells to MAPK pathway inhibitors enhanced stemness features by upregulating the expression of YAP/TAZ and downstream genes but surprisingly not SCD1. However, SCD1 pharmacological inhibition was able to downregulate YAP/TAZ and to revert at the same time CSC enrichment and resistance to MAPK inhibitors.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data underscore the role of SCD1 as prognostic marker in melanoma and promote the use of SCD1 inhibitors in combination with MAPK inhibitors for the control of drug resistance.

Hartman ML, Sztiller-Sikorska M, Czyz M
Whole-exome sequencing reveals novel genetic variants associated with diverse phenotypes of melanoma cells.
Mol Carcinog. 2019; 58(4):588-602 [PubMed] Related Publications
We have extensively studied the phenotypic heterogeneity of patient-derived melanoma cells. Here, whole-exome sequencing revealed novel variants of genes associated with the MAPK, NOTCH, Hippo, cell-cycle, senescence, and ubiquitin-dependent pathways, which could contribute to the observed phenotypic diversity between cell lines. Focusing on mutations in the MAPK pathway-associated genes, we found BRAF (BRAF

Zhang L, Cheng F, Wei Y, et al.
Inhibition of TAZ contributes radiation-induced senescence and growth arrest in glioma cells.
Oncogene. 2019; 38(15):2788-2799 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive brain tumor and resistant to current available therapeutics, such as radiation. To improve the clinical efficacy, it is important to understand the cellular mechanisms underlying tumor responses to radiation. Here, we investigated long-term cellular responses of human GBM cells to ionizing radiation. Comparing to the initial response within 12 hours, gene expression modulation at 7 days after radiation is markedly different. While genes related to cell cycle arrest and DNA damage responses are mostly modulated at the initial stage; immune-related genes are specifically affected as the long-term effect. This later response is associated with increased cellular senescence and inhibition of transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ). Mechanistically, TAZ inhibition does not depend on the canonical Hippo pathway, but relies on enhanced degradation mediated by the β-catenin destruction complex in the Wnt pathway. We further showed that depletion of TAZ by RNAi promotes radiation-induced senescence and growth arrest. Pharmacological activation of the β-catenin destruction complex is able to promote radiation-induced TAZ inhibition and growth arrest in these tumor cells. The correlation between senescence and reduced expression of TAZ as well as β-catenin also occurs in human gliomas treated by radiation. Collectively, these findings suggested that inhibition of TAZ is involved in radiation-induced senescence and might benefit GBM radiotherapy.

Matsushita A, Sato T, Mukai S, et al.
TAZ activation by Hippo pathway dysregulation induces cytokine gene expression and promotes mesothelial cell transformation.
Oncogene. 2019; 38(11):1966-1978 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant mesothelioma (MM) constitutes a very aggressive tumor that is caused by asbestos exposure after long latency. The NF2 tumor suppressor gene is mutated in 40-50% of MM; moreover, one of its downstream signaling cascades, the Hippo signaling pathway, is also frequently inactivated in MM cells. Although the YAP transcriptional coactivator, which is regulated by the Hippo pathway, can function as a pro-oncogenic protein, the role of TAZ, a paralog of YAP, in MM cells has not yet been clarified. Here, we show that TAZ is expressed and underphosphorylated (activated) in the majority of MM cells compared to immortalized mesothelial cells. ShRNA-mediated TAZ knockdown highly suppressed cell proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, cell motility, and invasion in MM cells harboring activated TAZ. Conversely, transduction of an activated form of TAZ in immortalized mesothelial cells enhanced these in vitro phenotypes and conferred tumorigenicity in vivo. Microarray analysis determined that activated TAZ most significantly enhanced the transcription of genes related to "cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction." Among selected cytokines, we found that IL-1 signaling activation plays a major role in proliferation in TAZ-activated MM cells. Both IL1B knockdown and an IL-1 receptor antagonist significantly suppressed malignant phenotypes of immortalized mesothelial cells and MM cells with activated TAZ. Overall, these results indicate an oncogenic role for TAZ in MMs via transcriptional induction of distinct pro-oncogenic genes including cytokines. Among these, IL-1 signaling appears as one of the most important cascades, thus potentially serving as a target pathway in MM cells harboring Hippo pathway inactivation.

Patil V, Mahalingam K
Comprehensive analysis of Reverse Phase Protein Array data reveals characteristic unique proteomic signatures for glioblastoma subtypes.
Gene. 2019; 685:85-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
The most common and lethal type of intracranial tumors include the astrocytomas. Grade IV astrocytoma or Glioblastoma (GBM) is highly aggressive and treatment-refractory with a median survival of only 14 to 16 months. Molecular profiling of GBMs reveals a high degree of intra- and inter-tumoral heterogeneity, and hence it is important to understand the important signalling axes that get deregulated in different GBM subtypes to provide effective tailor-made therapies. In this study, we have carried out extensive analysis of Reverse Phase Protein Array (RPPA) data from TCGA cohort to develop protein signatures that define glioma grades or subtypes. The protein signatures that distinguished Grade II or III from GBM had largely overlapped, and pathway analysis revealed the positive enrichment of extracellular matrix proteins (ECM), MYC pathway, uPAR pathway and G2/M checkpoint genes in GBM. We also identified protein signatures for GBMs with genetic alterations (IDH mutation, p53 mutation, EGFR amplification or mutation, CDKN2A/CDKN2B deletion, and PTEN mutation) that occur at high frequency. G-CIMP positive GBM-specific protein signature showed a large similarity with IDH1-mutant protein signature, thus signifying the importance of IDH1 mutation driving the G-CIMP. Gene expression subtype analysis revealed an association of specific proteins to classical (EGFR and phosphor variants), mesenchymal (SERPINE1, TAZ, and Myosin-IIa_pS1943), neural (TUBA1B), and proneural (GSK3_pS9) types. Univariate Cox regression analysis identified several proteins showing significant correlation with GBM survival. Multivariate analysis revealed that IGFBP2 and RICTOR_pT1135 are independent predictors of survival. Overall, our analyses reveal that specific proteins are regulated in different glioma subtypes underscoring the importance of diverse signalling axes playing important role in the pathogenesis of glioma tumors.

Guo P, Kang S, Zhao F
High expression of TAZ/YAP promotes the progression of malignant melanoma and affects the postoperative survival of patients.
Pharmazie. 2018; 73(11):662-665 [PubMed] Related Publications

Xie H, Wu L, Deng Z, et al.
Emerging roles of YAP/TAZ in lung physiology and diseases.
Life Sci. 2018; 214:176-183 [PubMed] Related Publications
The YAP and TAZ, as the downstream effectors of Hippo pathway, have emerged as important translational co-activators of a wide variety of biological processes. YAP/TAZ plays a crucial role in the lung development and physiology. Dysregulation of YAP/TAZ signaling pathway contributes to the development and progression of chronic lung diseases, including lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, COPD, asthma, and lung infection. Therefore, owing to its critical functions, delineation of the signaling mechanisms of YAP/TAZ in pathological conditions will shed light on developing strategies for its therapeutic targeting. Currently, the complex regulation of this pathway is under extensive investigation. In this review, we summarize and present recent findings of molecular mechanisms of YAP/TAZ in the lung physiological and pathological conditions, as well as the implications of YAP/TAZ for lung diseases treatment and regeneration.

Luo J, Chimge NO, Zhou B, et al.
CLDN18.1 attenuates malignancy and related signaling pathways of lung adenocarcinoma in vivo and in vitro.
Int J Cancer. 2018; 143(12):3169-3180 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/12/2019 Related Publications
Claudins are a family of transmembrane proteins integral to the structure and function of tight junctions (TJ). Disruption of TJ and alterations in claudin expression are important features of invasive and metastatic cancer cells. Expression of CLDN18.1, the lung-specific isoform of CLDN18, is markedly decreased in lung adenocarcinoma (LuAd). Furthermore, we recently observed that aged Cldn18

Zanconato F, Battilana G, Forcato M, et al.
Transcriptional addiction in cancer cells is mediated by YAP/TAZ through BRD4.
Nat Med. 2018; 24(10):1599-1610 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/12/2019 Related Publications
Cancer cells rely on dysregulated gene expression. This establishes specific transcriptional addictions that may be therapeutically exploited. Yet, the mechanisms that are ultimately responsible for these addictions are poorly understood. Here, we investigated the transcriptional dependencies of transformed cells to the transcription factors YAP and TAZ. YAP/TAZ physically engage the general coactivator bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4), dictating the genome-wide association of BRD4 to chromatin. YAP/TAZ flag a large set of enhancers with super-enhancer-like functional properties. YAP/TAZ-bound enhancers mediate the recruitment of BRD4 and RNA polymerase II at YAP/TAZ-regulated promoters, boosting the expression of a host of growth-regulating genes. Treatment with small-molecule inhibitors of BRD4 blunts YAP/TAZ pro-tumorigenic activity in several cell or tissue contexts, causes the regression of pre-established, YAP/TAZ-addicted neoplastic lesions and reverts drug resistance. This work sheds light on essential mediators, mechanisms and genome-wide regulatory elements that are responsible for transcriptional addiction in cancer and lays the groundwork for a rational use of BET inhibitors according to YAP/TAZ biology.

Pallocca M, Goeman F, De Nicola F, et al.
Coexisting YAP expression and TP53 missense mutations delineates a molecular scenario unexpectedly associated with better survival outcomes in advanced gastric cancer.
J Transl Med. 2018; 16(1):247 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/12/2019 Related Publications
We have previously reported that nuclear expression of the Hippo transducer TAZ in association with Wnt pathway mutations negatively impacts survival outcomes in advanced gastric cancer (GC) patients. Here, we extended these previous findings by investigating another oncogenic cooperation, namely, the interplay between YAP, the TAZ paralogue, and p53. The molecular output of the YAP-p53 cooperation is dependent on TP53 mutational status. In the absence of mutations, the YAP-p53 crosstalk elicits a pro-apoptotic response, whereas in the presence of TP53 mutations it activates a pro-proliferative transcriptional program. In order to study this phenomenon, we re-analyzed data from 83 advanced GC patients treated with chemotherapy whose tissue samples had been characterized for YAP expression (immunohistochemistry, IHC) and TP53 mutations (deep sequencing). In doing so, we generated a molecular model combining nuclear YAP expression in association with TP53 missense variants (YAP+/TP53

Gill MK, Christova T, Zhang YY, et al.
A feed forward loop enforces YAP/TAZ signaling during tumorigenesis.
Nat Commun. 2018; 9(1):3510 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/12/2019 Related Publications
In most solid tumors, the Hippo pathway is inactivated through poorly understood mechanisms that result in the activation of the transcriptional regulators, YAP and TAZ. Here, we identify NUAK2 as a YAP/TAZ activator that directly inhibits LATS-mediated phosphorylation of YAP/TAZ and show that NUAK2 induction by YAP/TAZ and AP-1 is required for robust YAP/TAZ signaling. Pharmacological inhibition or loss of NUAK2 reduces the growth of cultured cancer cells and mammary tumors in mice. Moreover, in human patient samples, we show that NUAK2 expression is elevated in aggressive, high-grade bladder cancer and strongly correlates with a YAP/TAZ gene signature. These findings identify a positive feed forward loop in the Hippo pathway that establishes a key role for NUAK2 in enforcing the tumor-promoting activities of YAP/TAZ. Our results thus introduce a new opportunity for cancer therapeutics by delineating NUAK2 as a potential target for re-engaging the Hippo pathway.

Li A, Gu K, Wang Q, et al.
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate affects the proliferation, apoptosis, migration and invasion of tongue squamous cell carcinoma through the hippo-TAZ signaling pathway.
Int J Mol Med. 2018; 42(5):2615-2627 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/12/2019 Related Publications
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the mechanism by which epigallocatechin‑3‑gallate (EGCG) inhibits the biological behaviors of the tongue squamous cell carcinoma (TSCC) through the Hippo‑tafazzin (TAZ) signaling pathway and to provide insights into molecular targeted therapy in TSCC. CAL27 and SCC15 cells were treated with different concentrations of EGCG for 24 h. Cell proliferation was determined using Cell‑Counting Kit‑8 and EdU assays. Cell apoptosis was evaluated by flow cytometry. Cell migration and invasion were measured using scratch and Transwell assays, respectively. Furthermore, protein levels of associated target genes were detected using a western blot assay. It was demonstrated that EGCG affected biological behaviors of CAL27 and SCC15 cells in concentration‑ and time‑dependent manners. In addition, EGCG decreased the protein levels of TAZ, LATS1, MOB1 and JNK. Overexpression of TAZ alleviated the effect of EGCG on CAL27 cells. Furthermore, the combination of EGCG and simvastatin inhibited the proliferation, migration and invasion, and promoted apoptosis significantly compared with single treatment in CAL27 cells. The results of the present study suggested that EGCG affects proliferation, apoptosis, migration and invasion of TSCC through the Hippo‑TAZ signaling pathway.

Wang J, Chen Y, Mo PL, et al.
1α,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2018; 183:228-237 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) might be the origin of hepatocellular carcinoma. 1α,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)

Liu Z, Wei Y, Zhang L, et al.
Induction of store-operated calcium entry (SOCE) suppresses glioblastoma growth by inhibiting the Hippo pathway transcriptional coactivators YAP/TAZ.
Oncogene. 2019; 38(1):120-139 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/12/2019 Related Publications
Glioblastomas (GBM) are the most aggressive brain cancers without effective therapeutics. The Hippo pathway transcriptional coactivators YAP/TAZ were implicated as drivers in GBM progression and could be therapeutic targets. Here we found in an unbiased screen of 1650 compounds that amlodipine is able to inhibit survival of GBM cells by suppressing YAP/TAZ activities. Instead of its known function as an L-type calcium channel blocker, we found that amlodipine is able to activate Ca

Pan Y, Lu F, Xiong P, et al.
WIPF1 antagonizes the tumor suppressive effect of miR-141/200c and is associated with poor survival in patients with PDAC.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2018; 37(1):167 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/12/2019 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Aberrant expression of Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein interacting protein family member 1 (WIPF1) contributes to the invasion and metastasis of several malignancies. However, the role of WIPF1 in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains poorly understood.
METHODS: Human pancreatic cancer samples from PDAC patients were collected for methylation analysis. Bioinformatic prediction program and luciferase reporter assay were used to identify microRNAs regulating WIPF1 expression. The association between WIPF1 expression and the overall survival (OS) of patients with PDAC was evaluated by using The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. The roles of miR-141/200c and WIPF1 on the invasion and metastasis of PDAC cells were investigated both in vitro and in vivo.
RESULTS: We found that compared to the surrounding non-cancerous tissues, there was significantly increased methylation of miR-200c and miR-141 in human PDAC tissues that resulted in their silencing, whereas the members of the other cluster of miR-200 family including miR-200a, miR-200b and miR-429 were hypomethylated. Our data show that forced expression of miR-141 or miR-200c suppressed invasion and metastasis of PDAC cells both in vitro and in xenograft and identified WIPF1 as a direct target of miR-141 and miR-200c. Both miR-141 and miR-200c inhibit WIPF1 by directly interacting with its 3'-untranslated region. Remarkably, silencing of WIPF1 blocked PDAC growth and metastasis both in vitro and in vivo, whereas forced WIPF1 overexpression antagonized the tumor suppressive effect of miR-141/200c. Additionally, by using TCGA database we showed that high expression of WIPF1 correlated with poor survival in patients with PDAC. Moreover, we show that miR-141 and miR-200c blocked YAP/TAZ expression by suppressing WIPF1.
CONCLUSIONS: We have identified WIPF1 as an oncoprotein in PDAC and a direct target of miR-141/miR-200c. We have also defined the miR-141/200c-WIPF1-YAP/TAZ as a novel signaling pathway that is involved in the regulation of the invasion and metastasis of human PDAC cells.

Yang XM, Cao XY, He P, et al.
Overexpression of Rac GTPase Activating Protein 1 Contributes to Proliferation of Cancer Cells by Reducing Hippo Signaling to Promote Cytokinesis.
Gastroenterology. 2018; 155(4):1233-1249.e22 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Agents designed to block or alter cytokinesis can kill or stop proliferation of cancer cells. We aimed to identify cytokinesis-related proteins that are overexpressed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells and might be targeted to slow liver tumor growth.
METHODS: Using the Oncomine database, we compared the gene expression patterns in 16 cancer microarray datasets and assessed gene enrichment sets using gene ontology. We performed immunohistochemical analysis of an HCC tissue microarray and identified changes in protein levels that are associated with patient survival times. Candidate genes were overexpressed or knocked down with small hairpin RNAs in SMMC7721, MHCC97H, or HCCLM3 cell lines; we analyzed their proliferation, viability, and clone-formation ability and their growth as subcutaneous or orthotopic xenograft tumors in mice. We performed microarray analyses to identify alterations in signaling pathways and immunoblot and immunofluorescence assays to detect and localize proteins in tissues. Yeast 2-hybrid screens and mass spectrometry combined with co-immunoprecipitation experiments were used to identify binding proteins. Protein interactions were validated with co-immunoprecipitation and proximity ligation assays. Chromatin immunoprecipitation, promoter luciferase activity, and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analyses were used to identify factors that regulate transcription of specific genes.
RESULTS: The genes that were most frequently overexpressed in different types of cancer cells were involved in cell division processes. We identified 3 cytokinesis-regulatory proteins among the 10 genes most frequently overexpressed by all cancer cell types. Rac GTPase activating protein 1 (RACGAP1) was the cytokinesis-regulatory protein that was most highly overexpressed in multiple cancers. Increased expression of RACGAP1 in tumor tissues was associated with shorter survival times of patients with cancer. Knockdown of RACGAP1 in HCC cells induced cytokinesis failure and cell apoptosis. In microarray analyses, we found knockdown of RACGAP1 in SMMC7721 cells to reduce expression of genes regulated by yes-associated protein (YAP) and WW domain containing transcription regulator 1 (WWTR1 or TAZ). RACGAP1 reduced activation of the Hippo pathway in HCC cells by increasing activity of RhoA and polymerization of filamentous actin. Knockdown of YAP reduced phosphorylation of RACGAP1 and redistribution at the anaphase central spindle. We found transcription of the translocated promoter region, nuclear basket protein (TPR) to be regulated by YAP and coordinately expressed with RACGAP1 to promote proliferation of HCC cells. TPR redistributed upon nuclear envelope breakdown and formed complexes with RACGAP1 during mitosis. Knockdown of TPR in HCC cells reduced phosphorylation of RACGAP1 by aurora kinase B and impaired their redistribution at the central spindle during cytokinesis. STAT3 activated transcription of RACGAP in HCC cells.
CONCLUSIONS: In an analysis of gene expression patterns of multiple tumor types, we found RACGAP1 to be frequently overexpressed, which is associated with shorter survival times of patients. RACGAP1 promotes proliferation of HCC cells by reducing activation of the Hippo and YAP pathways and promoting cytokinesis in coordination with TPR.

Kang J, Wang J, Yao Z, et al.
Fascin induces melanoma tumorigenesis and stemness through regulating the Hippo pathway.
Cell Commun Signal. 2018; 16(1):37 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/12/2019 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Fascin is a F-actin bundling protein and its overexpression is correlated with poor prognosis and increases metastatic potential in a number of cancers. But underlying function and mechanism of fascin on tumorigenesis in melanoma remain elusive.
METHODS: The melanoma cell lines WM793 and WM39 were employed for the soft agar and sphere formation assay. Quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot were performed for identifying the gene expression at mRNA and protein levels, respectively. Co-IP and in vitro GST pulldown experiments were used to test the interaction between fascin and MST2.
RESULTS: Fascin regulates tumorigenesis and cancer cell stemness in melanoma through inhibition of the Hippo pathway kinase MST2 and the activation of transcription factor TAZ. Our data showed that fascin interacts with the kinase domain of MST2 to inhibit its homodimer formation and kinase activity. Depletion of fascin led to increase of p-LATS level and decrease of TAZ, but not YAP. We also demonstrated that fascin regulates melanoma tumorigenesis independent of its actin-bundling activity.
CONCLUSIONS: Fascin is a new regulator of the MST2-LATS-TAZ pathway and plays a critical role in melanoma tumorigenesis. Inhibition of fascin reduces melanoma tumorigenesis and stemness, and thus fascin could be a potential therapeutic target for this malignancy.

Ferraiuolo M, Pulito C, Finch-Edmondson M, et al.
Agave negatively regulates YAP and TAZ transcriptionally and post-translationally in osteosarcoma cell lines.
Cancer Lett. 2018; 433:18-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most aggressive type of primary solid tumor that develops in bone. Whilst conventional chemotherapy can improve survival rates, the outcome for patients with metastatic or recurrent OS remains poor, so novel treatment agents and strategies are required. Research into new anticancer therapies has paved the way for the utilisation of natural compounds as they are typically less expensive and less toxic compared to conventional chemotherapeutics. Previously published works indicate that Agave exhibits anticancer properties, however potential molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. In the present study, we investigate the anticancer effects of Agave leaf extract in OS cells suggesting that Agave inhibits cell viability, colony formation, and cell migration, and can induce apoptosis in OS cell lines. Moreover, Agave sensitizes OS cells to cisplatin (CDDP) and radiation, to overcome chemo- and radio-resistance. We demonstrate that Agave extract induces a marked decrease of Yes Associated Protein (YAP) and Tafazzin (TAZ) mRNA and protein expression upon treatment. We propose an initial mechanism of action in which Agave induces YAP/TAZ protein degradation, followed by a secondary event whereby Agave inhibits YAP/TAZ transcription, effectively deregulating the Nuclear Factor kappa B (NF-κB) p65:p50 heterodimers responsible for transcriptional induction of YAP and TAZ.

Rao G, Kim IK, Conforti F, et al.
Dasatinib sensitises KRAS-mutant cancer cells to mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibitor via inhibition of TAZ activity.
Eur J Cancer. 2018; 99:37-48 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Oncogenic KRAS mutations occur frequently in solid tumours, but no clinically applicable targeted strategy is yet available for treating human cancers with mutant KRAS. Here we aimed to identify a strategy for the treatment of KRAS-driven cancers.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Cell viability and colony forming assays were used to assess the in vitro effect of dasatinib and trametinib as single agents or in combination. Western blot was used to analyse the phosphorylated protein and total protein levels. Xenograft models were used to evaluate the in vivo effect of drug combination on KRAS-driven tumour growth.
RESULTS: Here, we report the discovery of a synergistic interaction between dasatinib (ABL and SRC family kinase inhibitor) and the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitor trametinib in KRAS-mutant cancer cells. We demonstrated that dasatinib enhanced the antitumour effect of trametinib against the KRAS-mutant cancer models both in vitro and in vivo, and the combination resulted in a significant reduction of cytoplasmic and nucleic TAZ protein level, and therefore decreased downstream protein levels of YAP/TAZ signalling pathway. Furthermore, direct knockdown of TAZ by small interfering RNA was able to increase the sensitivity of KRAS-mutant cells to trametinib treatment.
CONCLUSION: These results indicate that dasatinib enhances the antitumour activity of MEK inhibitor through inhibition of TAZ activity and identify dasatinib and trametinib combination as a potential strategy for the treatment of KRAS-driven cancers.

Mota MSV, Jackson WP, Bailey SK, et al.
Deficiency of tumor suppressor Merlin facilitates metabolic adaptation by co-operative engagement of SMAD-Hippo signaling in breast cancer.
Carcinogenesis. 2018; 39(9):1165-1175 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/09/2019 Related Publications
The NF2 gene encodes the tumor and metastasis suppressor protein Merlin. Merlin exerts its tumor suppressive role by inhibiting proliferation and inducing contact-growth inhibition and apoptosis. In the current investigation, we determined that loss of Merlin in breast cancer tissues is concordant with the loss of the inhibitory SMAD, SMAD7, of the TGF-β pathway. This was reflected as dysregulated activation of TGF-β signaling that co-operatively engaged with effectors of the Hippo pathway (YAP/TAZ/TEAD). As a consequence, the loss of Merlin in breast cancer resulted in a significant metabolic and bioenergetic adaptation of cells characterized by increased aerobic glycolysis and decreased oxygen consumption. Mechanistically, we determined that the co-operative activity of the Hippo and TGF-β transcription effectors caused upregulation of the long non-coding RNA Urothelial Cancer-Associated 1 (UCA1) that disengaged Merlin's check on STAT3 activity. The consequent upregulation of Hexokinase 2 (HK2) enabled a metabolic shift towards aerobic glycolysis. In fact, Merlin deficiency engendered cellular dependence on this metabolic adaptation, endorsing a critical role for Merlin in regulating cellular metabolism. This is the first report of Merlin functioning as a molecular restraint on cellular metabolism. Thus, breast cancer patients whose tumors demonstrate concordant loss of Merlin and SMAD7 may benefit from an approach of incorporating STAT3 inhibitors.

Debaugnies M, Sánchez-Danés A, Rorive S, et al.
YAP and TAZ are essential for basal and squamous cell carcinoma initiation.
EMBO Rep. 2018; 19(7) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 21/09/2019 Related Publications
YAP and TAZ are key downstream regulators of the Hippo pathway, regulating cell proliferation and differentiation. YAP and TAZ activation has been reported in different cancer types. However, it remains unclear whether they are required for the initiation of major skin malignancies like basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Here, we analyze the expression of YAP and TAZ in these skin cancers and evaluate cancer initiation in knockout mouse models. We show that YAP and TAZ are nuclear and highly expressed in different BCC types in both human and mice. Further, we find that cells with nuclear YAP and TAZ localize to the invasive front in well-differentiated SCC, whereas nuclear YAP is homogeneously expressed in spindle cell carcinoma undergoing EMT We also show that mouse BCC and SCC are enriched for YAP gene signatures. Finally, we find that the conditional deletion of

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