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Cancer Cell. 2009 Nov 6;16(5):425-38. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2009.09.026.

Mst1 and Mst2 maintain hepatocyte quiescence and suppress hepatocellular carcinoma development through inactivation of the Yap1 oncogene.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Hippo-Lats-Yorkie signaling regulates tissue overgrowth and tumorigenesis in Drosophila. We show that the Mst1 and Mst2 protein kinases, the mammalian Hippo orthologs, are cleaved and constitutively activated in the mouse liver. Combined Mst1/2 deficiency in the liver results in loss of inhibitory Ser127 phosphorylation of the Yorkie ortholog, Yap1, massive overgrowth, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Reexpression of Mst1 in HCC-derived cell lines promotes Yap1 Ser127 phosphorylation and inactivation and abrogates their tumorigenicity. Notably, Mst1/2 inactivates Yap1 in liver through an intermediary kinase distinct from Lats1/2. Approximately 30% of human HCCs show low Yap1(Ser127) phosphorylation and a majority exhibit loss of cleaved, activated Mst1. Mst1/2 inhibition of Yap1 is an important pathway for tumor suppression in liver relevant to human HCC.

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