A combat with the YAP/TAZ-TEAD oncoproteins for cancer therapy.
ABSTRACT: The transcriptional co-regulators YAP and TAZ pair primarily with the TEAD family of transcription factors to elicit a gene expression signature that plays a prominent role in cancer development, progression and metastasis. YAP and TAZ endow cells with various oncogenic traits such that they sustain proliferation, inhibit apoptosis, maintain stemness, respond to mechanical stimuli, engineer metabolism, promote angiogenesis, suppress immune response and develop resistance to therapies. Therefore, inhibiting YAP/TAZ- TEAD is an attractive and viable option for novel cancer therapy. It is exciting to know that many drugs already in the clinic restrict YAP/TAZ activities and several novel YAP/TAZ inhibitors are currently under development. We have classified YAP/TAZ-inhibiting drugs into three groups. Group I drugs act on the upstream regulators that are stimulators of YAP/TAZ activities. Many of the Group I drugs have the potential to be repurposed as YAP/TAZ indirect inhibitors to treat various solid cancers. Group II modalities act directly on YAP/TAZ or TEADs and disrupt their interaction; targeting TEADs has emerged as a novel option to inhibit YAP/TAZ, as TEADs are major mediators of their oncogenic programs. TEADs can also be leveraged on using small molecules to activate YAP/TAZ-dependent gene expression for use in regenerative medicine. Group III drugs focus on targeting one of the oncogenic downstream YAP/TAZ transcriptional target genes. With the right strategy and impetus, it is not far-fetched to expect a repurposed group I drug or a novel group II drug to combat YAP and TAZ in cancers in the near future.
Project description:Uncontrolled transforming growth factor-? (TGF?) signaling promotes aggressive metastatic properties in late-stage breast cancers. However, how TGF?-mediated cues are directed to induce tumorigenic events is poorly understood, particularly given that TGF? has clear tumor suppressing activity in other contexts. Here, we demonstrate that the transcriptional regulators TAZ and YAP (TAZ/YAP), key effectors of the Hippo pathway, are necessary to promote and maintain TGF?-induced tumorigenic phenotypes in breast cancer cells. Interactions between TAZ/YAP, TGF?-activated SMAD2/3, and TEAD transcription factors reveal convergent roles for these factors in the nucleus. Genome-wide expression analyses indicate that TAZ/YAP, TEADs, and TGF?-induced signals coordinate a specific pro-tumorigenic transcriptional program. Importantly, genes cooperatively regulated by TAZ/YAP, TEAD, and TGF?, such as the novel targets NEGR1 and UCA1, are necessary for maintaining tumorigenic activity in metastatic breast cancer cells. Nuclear TAZ/YAP also cooperate with TGF? signaling to promote phenotypic and transcriptional changes in nontumorigenic cells to overcome TGF?-repressive effects. Our work thus identifies cross-talk between nuclear TAZ/YAP and TGF? signaling in breast cancer cells, revealing novel insight into late-stage disease-driving mechanisms.
Project description:TEA domain (TEAD) transcription factors bind to the coactivators YAP and TAZ and regulate the transcriptional output of the Hippo pathway, playing critical roles in organ size control and tumorigenesis. Protein S-palmitoylation attaches a fatty acid, palmitate, to cysteine residues and regulates protein trafficking, membrane localization and signaling activities. Using activity-based chemical probes, we discovered that human TEADs possess intrinsic palmitoylating enzyme-like activities and undergo autopalmitoylation at evolutionarily conserved cysteine residues under physiological conditions. We determined the crystal structures of lipid-bound TEADs and found that the lipid chain of palmitate inserts into a conserved deep hydrophobic pocket. Strikingly, palmitoylation did not alter TEAD's localization, but it was required for TEAD's binding to YAP and TAZ and was dispensable for its binding to the Vgll4 tumor suppressor. Moreover, palmitoylation-deficient TEAD mutants impaired TAZ-mediated muscle differentiation in vitro and tissue overgrowth mediated by the Drosophila YAP homolog Yorkie in vivo. Our study directly links autopalmitoylation to the transcriptional regulation of the Hippo pathway.
Project description:The Hippo pathway has emerged as a key signaling pathway that regulates a broad range of biological functions, and dysregulation of the Hippo pathway is a feature of a variety of cancers. Given this, some have suggested that disrupting the interaction of the Hippo core component YAP and its paralog TAZ with transcriptional factor TEAD may be an effective strategy for cancer therapy. However, there are currently no clinically available drugs targeting the YAP/TAZ-TEAD interaction for cancer treatment. To facilitate screens for small molecule compounds that disrupt the YAP-TEAD interaction, we have developed the first ultra-bright NanoLuc biosensor to quantify YAP/TAZ-TEAD protein-protein interaction (PPI) both in living cells and also in vitro using biosensor fusion proteins purified from bacteria. Using this biosensor, we have performed an in vitro high throughput screen (HTS) of small molecule compounds and have identified and validated the drug Celastrol as a novel inhibitor of YAP/TAZ-TEAD interaction. We have also demonstrated that Celastrol can inhibit cancer cell proliferation, transformation, and cell migration. In this study, we describe a new inhibitor of the YAP/TAZ-TEAD interaction warranting further investigation and offer a novel biosensor tool for the discovery of other new Hippo-targeting drugs in future work.
Project description:Uncontrolled Transforming growth factor-beta (TGFβ) signaling promotes aggressive metastatic properties in late-stage breast cancers. However, how TGFβ-mediated cues are directed to induce late-stage tumorigenic events is poorly understood, particularly given that TGFβ has clear tumor suppressing activity in other contexts. Here we demonstrate that the transcriptional regulators TAZ and YAP (TAZ/YAP), key effectors of the Hippo pathway, are necessary to promote and maintain TGFβ-induced tumorigenic phenotypes in breast cancer cells. Interactions between TAZ/YAP, TGFβ-activated SMAD2/3, and TEAD transcription factors reveal convergent roles for these factors in the nucleus. Genome-wide expression analyses indicate that TAZ/YAP, TEADs and TGFβ-induced signals coordinate a specific pro-tumorigenic transcriptional program. Importantly, genes cooperatively regulated by TAZ/YAP, TEAD, and TGFβ, such as the novel targets NEGR1 and UCA1, are necessary for maintaining tumorigenic activity in metastatic breast cancer cells. Nuclear TAZ/YAP also cooperate with TGFβ signaling to promote phenotypic and transcriptional changes in non-tumorigenic cells to overcome TGFβ repressive effects. Our work thus identifies crosstalk between nuclear TAZ/YAP and TGFβ signaling in breast cancer cells, revealing novel insight into late-stage disease-driving mechanisms. Expression profiling was conducted following the repression of the transcriptional regulators TAZ and YAP (TAZ/YAP), the TEAD family of transcription factors (TEAD1/2/3/4), or the TGFb signaling pathway (with SB-431542, an inhibitor of the TBRI recpeptor) in human MDA-MB-231-LM2 breast cancer cells treated with TGFβ1. Human MDA-MB-231-LM2-4 breast cancer cells were transfected with control siRNA, or siRNAs targeting TAZ/YAP or all four TEADs and were treated 24 hours later with 500pM TGFβ1 or 5mM SB-431542 for an additional 24 hours. Total RNA was isolated and twelve microarrays in total were performed, with each condition carried out three times on separate days. The Boston University Microarray Core generated the data using the Affymetrix Human Gene 1.0 St Array.
Project description:Transcriptional enhanced associate domain (TEAD) transcription factors play important roles during development, cell proliferation, regeneration, and tissue homeostasis. TEAD integrates with and coordinates various signal transduction pathways including Hippo, Wnt, transforming growth factor beta (TGF?), and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathways. TEAD deregulation affects well-established cancer genes such as KRAS, BRAF, LKB1, NF2, and MYC, and its transcriptional output plays an important role in tumor progression, metastasis, cancer metabolism, immunity, and drug resistance. To date, TEADs have been recognized to be key transcription factors of the Hippo pathway. Therefore, most studies are focused on the Hippo kinases and YAP/TAZ, whereas the Hippo-dependent and Hippo-independent regulators and regulations governing TEAD only emerged recently. Deregulation of the TEAD transcriptional output plays important roles in tumor progression and serves as a prognostic biomarker due to high correlation with clinicopathological parameters in human malignancies. In addition, discovering the molecular mechanisms of TEAD, such as post-translational modifications and nucleocytoplasmic shuttling, represents an important means of modulating TEAD transcriptional activity. Collectively, this review highlights the role of TEAD in multistep-tumorigenesis by interacting with upstream oncogenic signaling pathways and controlling downstream target genes, which provides unprecedented insight and rationale into developing TEAD-targeted anticancer therapeutics.
Project description:YAP/TAZ are nuclear effectors of the Hippo pathway regulating organ growth and tumorigenesis. Yet, their function as transcriptional regulators remains underinvestigated. By ChIP-seq analyses in breast cancer cells, we discovered that the YAP/TAZ transcriptional response is pervasively mediated by a dual element: TEAD factors, through which YAP/TAZ bind to DNA, co-occupying chromatin with activator protein-1 (AP-1, dimer of JUN and FOS proteins) at composite cis-regulatory elements harbouring both TEAD and AP-1 motifs. YAP/TAZ/TEAD and AP-1 form a complex that synergistically activates target genes directly involved in the control of S-phase entry and mitosis. This control occurs almost exclusively from distal enhancers that contact target promoters through chromatin looping. YAP/TAZ-induced oncogenic growth is strongly enhanced by gain of AP-1 and severely blunted by its loss. Conversely, AP-1-promoted skin tumorigenesis is prevented in YAP/TAZ conditional knockout mice. This work highlights a new layer of signalling integration, feeding on YAP/TAZ function at the chromatin level.
Project description:To investigate the role of Hippo pathway signaling during vertebrate development transgenic zebrafish lines were generated and validated to dynamically monitor and manipulate Yap/Taz-Tead activity. Spatial and temporal analysis of Yap/Taz-Tead activity suggested the importance of Hippo signaling during cardiac precursor migration and other developmental processes. When the transcriptional co-activators, Yap and Taz were restricted from interacting with DNA-binding Tead transcription factors through expression of a dominant negative transgene, cardiac precursors failed to migrate completely to the midline resulting in strong cardia bifida. Yap/Taz-Tead activity reporters also allowed us to investigate upstream and downstream factors known to regulate Hippo signaling output in Drosophila. While Crumbs mutations in Drosophila eye disc epithelia increase nuclear translocation and activity of Yorkie (the fly homolog of Yap/Taz), zebrafish crb2a mutants lacked nuclear Yap positive cells and down-regulated Yap/Taz-Tead activity reporters in the eye epithelia, despite the loss of apical-basal cell polarity in those cells. However, as an example of evolutionary conservation, the Tondu-domain containing protein Vestigial-like 4b (Vgll4b) was found to down-regulate endogenous Yap/Taz-Tead activity in the retinal pigment epithelium, similar to Drosophila Tgi in imaginal discs. In conclusion, the Yap/Taz-Tead activity reporters revealed the dynamics of Yap/Taz-Tead signaling and novel insights into Hippo pathway regulation for vertebrates. These studies highlight the utility of this transgenic tool-suite for ongoing analysis into the mechanisms of Hippo pathway regulation and the consequences of signaling output.
Project description:Ski, the transforming protein of the avian Sloan-Kettering retrovirus, inhibits transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?)/Smad signaling and displays both pro-oncogenic and anti-oncogenic activities in human cancer. Inhibition of TGF-? signaling is likely responsible for the pro-oncogenic activity of Ski. We investigated the mechanism(s) underlying the tumor suppressor activity of Ski and found that Ski suppressed the activity of the Hippo signaling effectors TAZ and YAP to inhibit breast cancer progression. TAZ and YAP are transcriptional coactivators that can contribute to cancer by promoting proliferation, tumorigenesis, and cancer stem cell expansion. Hippo signaling activates the the Lats family of kinases, which phosphorylate TAZ and YAP, resulting in cytoplasmic retention and degradation and inhibition of their transcriptional activity. We showed that Ski interacted with multiple components of the Hippo pathway to facilitate activation of Lats2, resulting in increased phosphorylation and subsequent degradation of TAZ. Ski also promoted the degradation of a constitutively active TAZ mutant that is not phosphorylated by Lats, suggesting the existence of a Lats2-independent degradation pathway. Finally, we showed that Ski repressed the transcriptional activity of TAZ by binding to the TAZ partner TEAD and recruiting the transcriptional co-repressor NCoR1 to the TEAD-TAZ complex. Ski effectively reversed transformation and epithelial-to-mesenchyme transition in cultured breast cancer cells and metastasis in TAZ-expressing xenografted tumors. Thus, Ski inhibited the function of TAZ through multiple mechanisms in human cancer cells.
Project description:Increased glucose metabolism and reprogramming toward aerobic glycolysis are a hallmark of cancer cells, meeting their metabolic needs for sustained cell proliferation. Metabolic reprogramming is usually considered as a downstream consequence of tumor development and oncogene activation; growing evidence indicates, however, that metabolism on its turn can support oncogenic signaling to foster tumor malignancy. Here, we explored how glucose metabolism regulates gene transcription and found an unexpected link with YAP/TAZ, key transcription factors regulating organ growth, tumor cell proliferation and aggressiveness. When cells actively incorporate glucose and route it through glycolysis, YAP/TAZ are fully active; when glucose metabolism is blocked, or glycolysis is reduced, YAP/TAZ transcriptional activity is decreased. Accordingly, glycolysis is required to sustain YAP/TAZ pro-tumorigenic functions, and YAP/TAZ are required for the full deployment of glucose growth-promoting activity. Mechanistically we found that phosphofructokinase (PFK1), the enzyme regulating the first committed step of glycolysis, binds the YAP/TAZ transcriptional cofactors TEADs and promotes their functional and biochemical cooperation with YAP/TAZ. Strikingly, this regulation is conserved in Drosophila, where phosphofructokinase is required for tissue overgrowth promoted by Yki, the fly homologue of YAP. Moreover, gene expression regulated by glucose metabolism in breast cancer cells is strongly associated in a large dataset of primary human mammary tumors with YAP/TAZ activation and with the progression toward more advanced and malignant stages. These findings suggest that aerobic glycolysis endows cancer cells with particular metabolic properties and at the same time sustains transcription factors with potent pro-tumorigenic activities such as YAP/TAZ.
Project description:AIMS:Inhibition of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation by intracellular cAMP prevents excessive neointima formation and hence angioplasty restenosis and vein-graft failure. These protective effects are mediated via actin-cytoskeleton remodelling and subsequent regulation of gene expression by mechanisms that are incompletely understood. Here we investigated the role of components of the growth-regulatory Hippo pathway, specifically the transcription factor TEAD and its co-factors YAP and TAZ in VSMC. METHODS AND RESULTS:Elevation of cAMP using forskolin, dibutyryl-cAMP or the physiological agonists, Cicaprost or adenosine, significantly increased phosphorylation and nuclear export YAP and TAZ and inhibited TEAD-luciferase report gene activity. Similar effects were obtained by inhibiting RhoA activity with C3-transferase, its downstream kinase, ROCK, with Y27632, or actin-polymerisation with Latrunculin-B. Conversely, expression of constitutively-active RhoA reversed the inhibitory effects of forskolin on TEAD-luciferase. Forskolin significantly inhibited the mRNA expression of the pro-mitogenic genes, CCN1, CTGF, c-MYC and TGFB2 and this was reversed by expression of constitutively-active YAP or TAZ phospho-mutants. Inhibition of YAP and TAZ function with RNAi or Verteporfin significantly reduced VSMC proliferation. Furthermore, the anti-mitogenic effects of forskolin were reversed by overexpression of constitutively-active YAP or TAZ. CONCLUSION:Taken together, these data demonstrate that cAMP-induced actin-cytoskeleton remodelling inhibits YAP/TAZ-TEAD dependent expression of pro-mitogenic genes in VSMC. This mechanism contributes novel insight into the anti-mitogenic effects of cAMP in VSMC and suggests a new target for intervention.