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Cell Death Dis. 2018 Oct 31;9(11):1108. doi: 10.1038/s41419-018-1142-4.

YAP1 enhances NF-κB-dependent and independent effects on clock-mediated unfolded protein responses and autophagy in sarcoma.

Author information

1
Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Penn Sarcoma Program, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
2
Department of Cancer Biology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
3
Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.
4
Department of Surgery and Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
5
Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System, Toronto, ON, Canada.
6
Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
7
Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
8
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Penn Sarcoma Program, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
9
Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Penn Sarcoma Program, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA. karineis@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Abstract

Terminal differentiation opposes proliferation in the vast majority of tissue types. As a result, loss of lineage differentiation is a hallmark of aggressive cancers, including soft tissue sarcomas (STS). Consistent with these observations, undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS), an STS subtype devoid of lineage markers, is among the most lethal sarcomas in adults. Though tissue-specific features are lost in these mesenchymal tumors they are most commonly diagnosed in skeletal muscle, and are thought to develop from transformed muscle progenitor cells. We have found that a combination of HDAC (Vorinostat) and BET bromodomain (JQ1) inhibition partially restores differentiation to skeletal muscle UPS cells and tissues, enforcing a myoblast-like identity. Importantly, differentiation is partially contingent upon downregulation of the Hippo pathway transcriptional effector Yes-associated protein 1 (YAP1) and nuclear factor (NF)-κB. Previously, we observed that Vorinostat/JQ1 inactivates YAP1 and restores oscillation of NF-κB in differentiating myoblasts. These effects correlate with reduced tumorigenesis, and enhanced differentiation. However, the mechanisms by which the Hippo/NF-κB axis impact differentiation remained unknown. Here, we report that YAP1 and NF-κB activity suppress circadian clock function, inhibiting differentiation and promoting proliferation. In most tissues, clock activation is antagonized by the unfolded protein response (UPR). However, skeletal muscle differentiation requires both Clock and UPR activity, suggesting the molecular link between them is unique in muscle. In skeletal muscle-derived UPS, we observed that YAP1 suppresses PERK and ATF6-mediated UPR target expression as well as clock genes. These pathways govern metabolic processes, including autophagy, and their disruption shifts metabolism toward cancer cell-associated glycolysis and hyper-proliferation. Treatment with Vorinostat/JQ1 inhibited glycolysis/MTOR signaling, activated the clock, and upregulated the UPR and autophagy via inhibition of YAP1/NF-κB. These findings support the use of epigenetic modulators to treat human UPS. In addition, we identify specific autophagy, UPR, and muscle differentiation-associated genes as potential biomarkers of treatment efficacy and differentiation.

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