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Cell type-dependent function of LATS1/2 in cancer cell growth


The Hippo pathway controls organ size and tissue homeostasis, and its dysregulation often contributes to tumorigenesis. Extensive studies have shown that the Hippo pathway inhibits cell proliferation, and survival in a cell-autonomous manner. We examined the function of the Hippo pathway kinases LATS1/2 (large tumor suppressor 1 and 2) in cancer cells. As expected, loss of LATS1/2 promotes cancer cell growth in most cell lines. Surprisingly, however, LATS1/2 deletion inhibits the growth of murine MC38 colon cancer cells, especially under detachment conditions. This growth inhibitory effect caused by LATS1/2 deletion is due to uncontrolled activation of Yes-associated protein (YAP) and transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ), the key downstream transcriptional coactivators inhibited by LATS1/2. We identified Wnt inducible signaling pathway protein 2 (Wisp2) and coiled-coil domain containing 80 (Ccdc80) as direct targets of YAP/TAZ. Their expression is selectively induced by LATS1/2 deletion in MC38 cells. Furthermore, deletion of WISP2 and CCDC80 prevents the growth inhibitory effect of LATS1/2 loss in MC38 cells. Our study demonstrates that the function of LATS1/2 in cell growth is cell context dependent, suggesting that LATS1/2 inhibition can be a therapeutic approach for some cancer types.

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We thank Zhipeng Meng, Rui Chen, Shenghong Ma, Zhengming Wu, Kimberly C, Lin and Min Luo for technical assistance; JiaYu Chen and Xiangdong Fu for help in bioinformatics analysis. This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (CA196878, CA217642, and GM51586) to K.L.G. This study was supported by grants from National Natural Science Foundation of China (31871402, 81402162), and the Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province (LY17H160060) to W.W.P.

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Correspondence to Wei-Wei Pan or Kun-Liang Guan.

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K-LG is a co-founder and has an equity interest in Vivace Therapeutics, Inc. The terms of this arrangement have been reviewed and approved by the University of California, San Diego in accordance with its conflict of interest policies.

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