The hippo pathway and YAP signaling: Emerging concepts in regulation, signaling, and experimental targeting strategies with implications for hepatobiliary malignancies

Nathan Werneburg, Gregory J. Gores, Rory L. Smoot

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Hippo pathway and its effector protein YAP (a transcriptional coactivator) have been identified as important in the biology of both hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma. First identified as a tumor suppressor pathway in Drosophila, the understanding of the mammalian YAP signaling and its regulation continues to expand. In its “on” function, the canonical regulatory Hippo pathway, a well-described serine/threonine kinase module, regulates YAP function by restricting its subcellular localization to the cytoplasm. In contrast, when the Hippo pathway is “off,” YAP translocates to the nucleus and drives cotranscriptional activity. Given the role of Hippo/YAP signaling in hepatic malignancies, investigators have sought to target these molecules; however, standard approaches have not been successful based on the pathways' negative regulatory role. More recently, additional regulatory mechanisms, such as tyrosine phosphorylation, of YAP have been described. These represent positive regulatory events that may be targetable. Additionally, several groups have identified potentiating feed-forward signaling for YAP in multiple contexts, suggesting other experimental therapeutic approaches to interrupt these signaling loops. Herein we explore the current data supporting alternative YAP regulatory pathways, review the described feed-forward signaling cascades that are YAP dependent, and explore targeting strategies that have been employed in preclinical models of hepatic malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalGene Expression
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Hippo pathway
  • Lck
  • NUAK2
  • Src family kinase
  • Tyrosine phosphorylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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