The Hippo signaling pathway was originally discovered in Drosophila and shown to be critical for organ size control and tumorigenesis. This pathway consists of a cascade of kinases and several adaptors that lead to the phosphorylation and inhibition, through nuclear exclusion, of the transcriptional cofactor Yorkie in Drosophila or YAP (yes associated protein) in mammals. Recent studies demonstrate that cardiac-specific deletion of the Hippo pathway kinase Mst (STE20-like protein kinases) co-activator WW45 (WW domain-containing adaptor 45), Mst1, Mst2, or Lats2 (large tumor suppressor homologue 2) in mice result in over-grown hearts with elevated cardiomyocyte proliferation. Consistent with these observations, over-expression of YAP in the mouse embryonic heart increases heart size and promotes cardiac regeneration and contractility after myocardial infarction by inducing cardiomyocyte proliferation, whereas deletion of YAP in the mouse heart impedes cardiomyocyte proliferation, causing myocardial hypoplasia and embryonic or premature lethality. YAP has also been shown to play an important role in the vascular system. Specific-deletion of YAP from vascular smooth muscle cells in mice results in aberrant development of large arteries with a hypoplastic arterial wall phenotype. Hippo-YAP signaling cross-talks with other signaling pathways such as IGF (insulin-like growth factor) and Wnt signaling to promote heart growth by increasing expression of cellcycle genes. The purpose of this review is to summarize these recent findings and discuss potential diagnostic or therapeutic strategies in cardiovascular system based on manipulating the Hippo-YAP signaling.
- Cardiac development
- Vascular smooth muscle
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)