Article

Mst1 and Mst2 protein kinases restrain intestinal stem cell proliferation and colonic tumorigenesis by inhibition of Yes-associated protein (Yap) overabundance.

Department of Molecular Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 12/2011; 108(49):E1312-20. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1110428108
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Ablation of the kinases Mst1 and Mst2, orthologs of the Drosophila antiproliferative kinase Hippo, from mouse intestinal epithelium caused marked expansion of an undifferentiated stem cell compartment and loss of secretory cells throughout the small and large intestine. Although median survival of mice lacking intestinal Mst1/Mst2 is 13 wk, adenomas of the distal colon are common by this age. Diminished phosphorylation, enhanced abundance, and nuclear localization of the transcriptional coactivator Yes-associated protein 1 (Yap1) is evident in Mst1/Mst2-deficient intestinal epithelium, as is strong activation of β-catenin and Notch signaling. Although biallelic deletion of Yap1 from intestinal epithelium has little effect on intestinal development, inactivation of a single Yap1 allele reduces Yap1 polypeptide abundance to nearly wild-type levels and, despite the continued Yap hypophosphorylation and preferential nuclear localization, normalizes epithelial structure. Thus, supraphysiologic Yap polypeptide levels are necessary to drive intestinal stem cell proliferation. Yap is overexpressed in 68 of 71 human colon cancers and in at least 30 of 36 colon cancer-derived cell lines. In colon-derived cell lines where Yap is overabundant, its depletion strongly reduces β-catenin and Notch signaling and inhibits proliferation and survival. These findings demonstrate that Mst1 and Mst2 actively suppress Yap1 abundance and action in normal intestinal epithelium, an antiproliferative function that frequently is overcome in colon cancer through Yap1 polypeptide overabundance. The dispensability of Yap1 in normal intestinal homeostasis and its potent proliferative and prosurvival actions when overexpressed in colon cancer make it an attractive therapeutic target.

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