, Volume 1, Issue 9, pp 811-819
Date: 07 Oct 2010

Snapshots of a hybrid transcription factor in the Hippo pathway

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The Hippo pathway plays key roles in animal development. It suppresses tumorigenesis by controlling the transcription of the target genes that are critical for cell proliferation and apoptosis. The transcriptional coactivator YAP is the major downstream effector of the Hippo signaling. Upon extracellular stimulation, a kinase cascade in the Hippo pathway phosphorylates YAP and promotes its cytoplasmic sequestration by 14-3-3 and ubiquitin-dependent degradation. When the Hippo pathway is turned off, YAP (which lacks a DNA-binding domain) is dephosphorylated and translocates to the nucleus, where it associates with the transcription factor TEAD to form a functional heterodimeric transcription factor and to promote the expression of the Hippo-responsive genes. Recently, structures of the YAP-binding domain of TEAD alone or in complex with YAP have revealed the atomic details of the TEAD-YAP interaction. Here, I review these exciting advances, propose a strategy for targeting the TEAD-YAP interaction using small molecules, and suggest potential mechanisms by which phosphorylation and 14-3-3 binding regulate the cytoplasmic retention of YAP.