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EMBO J. 2012 Mar 7;31(5):1109-22. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2011.487. Epub 2012 Jan 10.

A molecular mechanism that links Hippo signalling to the inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin signalling.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


The Hippo signalling pathway has emerged as a key regulator of organ size, tissue homeostasis, and patterning. Recent studies have shown that two effectors in this pathway, YAP/TAZ, modulate Wnt/β-catenin signalling through their interaction with β-catenin or Dishevelled, depending on biological contexts. Here, we identify a novel mechanism through which Hippo signalling inhibits Wnt/β-catenin signalling. We show that YAP and TAZ, the transcriptional co-activators in the Hippo pathway, suppress Wnt signalling without suppressing the stability of β-catenin but through preventing its nuclear translocation. Our results show that YAP/TAZ binds to β-catenin, thereby suppressing Wnt-target gene expression, and that the Hippo pathway-stimulated phosphorylation of YAP, which induces cytoplasmic translocation of YAP, is required for the YAP-mediated inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin signalling. We also find that downregulation of Hippo signalling correlates with upregulation of β-catenin signalling in colorectal cancers. Remarkably, our analysis demonstrates that phosphorylated YAP suppresses nuclear translocation of β-catenin by directly binding to it in the cytoplasm. These results provide a novel mechanism, in which Hippo signalling antagonizes Wnt signalling by regulating nuclear translocation of β-catenin.

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