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Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Nov 20;19(11). pii: E3674. doi: 10.3390/ijms19113674.

YAP/TAZ Signaling as a Molecular Link between Fibrosis and Cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Respiratory Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan. snoguchi-tky@umin.ac.jp.
2
Department of Respiratory Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan. asaitou-tky@umin.ac.jp.
3
Division for Health Service Promotion, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan. asaitou-tky@umin.ac.jp.
4
Department of Respiratory Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan. takahide-tky@umin.ac.jp.

Abstract

Tissue fibrosis is a pathological condition that is associated with impaired epithelial repair and excessive deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM). Fibrotic lesions increase the risk of cancer in various tissues, but the mechanism linking fibrosis and cancer is unclear. Yes-associated protein (YAP) and the transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) are core components of the Hippo pathway, which have multiple biological functions in the development, homeostasis, and regeneration of tissues and organs. YAP/TAZ act as sensors of the structural and mechanical features of the cell microenvironment. Recent studies have shown aberrant YAP/TAZ activation in both fibrosis and cancer in animal models and human tissues. In fibroblasts, ECM stiffness mechanoactivates YAP/TAZ, which promote the production of profibrotic mediators and ECM proteins. This results in tissue stiffness, thus establishing a feed-forward loop of fibroblast activation and tissue fibrosis. In contrast, in epithelial cells, YAP/TAZ are activated by the disruption of cell polarity and increased ECM stiffness in fibrotic tissues, which promotes the proliferation and survival of epithelial cells. YAP/TAZ are also involved in the epithelial⁻mesenchymal transition (EMT), which contributes to tumor progression and cancer stemness. Importantly, the crosstalk with transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signaling and Wnt signaling is essential for the profibrotic and tumorigenic roles of YAP/TAZ. In this article, we review the latest advances in the pathobiological roles of YAP/TAZ signaling and their function as a molecular link between fibrosis and cancer.

KEYWORDS:

Hippo pathway; TAZ; TGF-β; Wnt; YAP; cancer; fibrosis; mechanotransduction

PMID:
30463366
PMCID:
PMC6274979
DOI:
10.3390/ijms19113674
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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