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Regulation of the Hippo Pathway Transcription Factor TEAD

  • Author(s): Lin, Kimberly Chen
  • Advisor(s): Guan, Kun-Liang
  • et al.

The Hippo pathway is a master regulator of tissue growth and homeostasis. As such, the Hippo pathway plays important roles in processes such as cell proliferation, growth, differentiation, and survival. In the past few decades, a slew of studies has characterized a network of proteins that crosstalk with the Hippo pathway, the signals regulating the Hippo pathway, and the biological outputs of the pathway in development, tissue regeneration, and cancer. The transcriptional components of the Hippo pathway consist of transcription co-activators YAP and TAZ as well as transcription factor family TEAD. Past studies of the Hippo pathway largely focus on regulation of the Hippo transcription co-activators YAP and TAZ and studies characterizing mechanisms of TEAD regulation are largely lacking. Thus, studies uncovering new mechanisms of TEAD regulation will provide insight into Hippo signaling and Hippo related pathogeneses.

We demonstrate that upon environmental stresses, such as osmotic stress and high cell density, TEAD localization can be dynamically regulated. Upon osmotic stress, TEAD is translocated to the cytoplasm through direct binding with p38 through its D domain. Importantly, this cytoplasmic translocation of TEAD can override YAP/TAZ activating signals and inhibit Hippo signaling output. Furthermore, in YAP/TAZ driven cancer cell lines, TEAD cytoplasmic translocation can inhibit cell growth in vitro and in vivo.

TEAD cytoplasmic translocation is also seen upon tissue repair and in response to extracellular matrix (ECM) composition. High cell density promoted TEAD cytoplasmic localization can be reversed by inducing a wound in the cell monolayer. This cytoplasmic-nuclear translocation is also seen in an intestinal injury model. Furthermore, TEAD nuclear accumulation occurs in response to composition of ECM proteins, namely laminin and fibronectin. TEAD nuclear localization in response to fibronectin is mediated through FAK/Src signaling. Here we show several Hippo independent mechanisms of TEAD regulation and provide evidence that regulation of TEAD is an alternative mechanism of regulating Hippo signaling output.

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