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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    ABSTRACT: Intestinal epithelial homeostasis requires continuous renewal supported by stem cells located in the base of the crypt. Disruption of this balance results in failure to regenerate and initiates tumorigenesis. The β-catenin and Yap pathways in Lgr5(+) stem cells have been shown to be central to this process. However, the precise mechanisms by which these signaling molecules are regulated in the stem cell population are not totally understood. Protein kinase C ζ (PKCζ) has been previously demonstrated to be a negative regulator of intestinal tumorigenesis. Here, we show that PKCζ suppresses intestinal stem cell function by promoting the downregulation of β-catenin and Yap through direct phosphorylation. PKCζ deficiency results in increased stem cell activity in organoid cultures and in vivo, accounting for the increased tumorigenic and regenerative activity response of Lgr5(+)-specific PKCζ-deficient mice. This demonstrates that PKCζ is central to the control of stem cells in intestinal cancer and homeostasis. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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    ABSTRACT: The transcriptional coactivator Yes-associated protein (Yap) promotes proliferation and inhibits apoptosis, suggesting that Yap functions as an oncogene. Most oncogenes, however, require a combination of at least two signals to promote proliferation. Here we present evidence that Yap activation is insufficient to promote growth in the otherwise normal tissue. Using a mosaic mouse model, we demonstrate that Yap overexpression in a fraction of hepatocytes does not lead to their clonal expansion, as proliferation is counterbalanced by increased apoptosis. To shift the activity of Yap towards growth, a second signal provided by tissue damage or inflammation is required. In response to liver injury, Yap drives clonal expansion, suppresses hepatocyte differentiation and promotes a progenitor phenotype. These results suggest that Yap activation is insufficient to promote growth in the absence of a second signal thus coordinating tissue homeostasis and repair.
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    ABSTRACT: The Hippo pathway is an important organ size control signaling network and the major regulatory mechanism of cell-contact inhibition. Yes Associated Protein (YAP) and Transcriptional co-Activator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) are its targets and terminal effectors: inhibition of the pathway promotes YAP/TAZ translocation to the nucleus, where they interact with Transcriptional Enhancer Associate Domain (TEAD) transcription factors and co-activate the expression of target genes, promoting cell proliferation. Defects in the pathway can result in overgrowth phenotypes due to deregulation of stem-cell proliferation and apoptosis; members of the pathway are directly involved in cancer development. The pharmacological regulation of the pathway might be useful in cancer prevention, treatment and regenerative medicine applications; currently, a few compounds can selectively modulate the pathway. In this review, we present an overview of the Hippo pathway, the sequence and structural analysis of YAP/TAZ, the known pharmacological modulators of the pathway and those targeting YAP/TAZ-TEAD interaction.


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