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      Yap- and Cdc42-Dependent Nephrogenesis and Morphogenesis during Mouse Kidney Development

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          Yap is a transcriptional co-activator that regulates cell proliferation and apoptosis downstream of the Hippo kinase pathway. We investigated Yap function during mouse kidney development using a conditional knockout strategy that specifically inactivated Yap within the nephrogenic lineage. We found that Yap is essential for nephron induction and morphogenesis, surprisingly, in a manner independent of regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis. We used microarray analysis to identify a suite of novel Yap-dependent genes that function during nephron formation and have been implicated in morphogenesis. Previous in vitro studies have indicated that Yap can respond to mechanical stresses in cultured cells downstream of the small GTPases RhoA. We find that tissue-specific inactivation of the Rho GTPase Cdc42 causes a severe defect in nephrogenesis that strikingly phenocopies loss of Yap. Ablation of Cdc42 decreases nuclear localization of Yap, leading to a reduction of Yap-dependent gene expression. We propose that Yap responds to Cdc42-dependent signals in nephron progenitor cells to activate a genetic program required to shape the functioning nephron.

          Author Summary

          The mammalian kidney undergoes reiterative and stereotypical morphogenetic changes to create the elaborately convoluted adult nephron, the functional filtration unit of the kidney. How these sequential morphological events are controlled remains poorly understood. Here we show that the transcriptional activator Yap is essential in the developing murine kidney. Yap mutants have reduced nephrogenesis and defective morphogenesis. Yap function in nephrogenesis is independent of its previously described role in regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis. Instead, Yap activity is needed for proper expression of a suite of genes that control cell signaling and cell structure. Remarkably, we find that ablation of Cdc42 phenocopies loss of Yap. We show that Cdc42 is essential for nuclear access of Yap, both in vivo and in tissue culture studies. Taken together, our work shows that Yap and Cdc42 are essential for the cell fate and morphogenesis decisions necessary to shape functioning nephrons, and suggests that Yap functions downstream of Cdc42 during kidney development.

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          Most cited references 32

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          Regulation of the Hippo-YAP pathway by G-protein-coupled receptor signaling.

          The Hippo pathway is crucial in organ size control, and its dysregulation contributes to tumorigenesis. However, upstream signals that regulate the mammalian Hippo pathway have remained elusive. Here, we report that the Hippo pathway is regulated by G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling. Serum-borne lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and sphingosine 1-phosphophate (S1P) act through G12/13-coupled receptors to inhibit the Hippo pathway kinases Lats1/2, thereby activating YAP and TAZ transcription coactivators, which are oncoproteins repressed by Lats1/2. YAP and TAZ are involved in LPA-induced gene expression, cell migration, and proliferation. In contrast, stimulation of Gs-coupled receptors by glucagon or epinephrine activates Lats1/2 kinase activity, thereby inhibiting YAP function. Thus, GPCR signaling can either activate or inhibit the Hippo-YAP pathway depending on the coupled G protein. Our study identifies extracellular diffusible signals that modulate the Hippo pathway and also establishes the Hippo-YAP pathway as a critical signaling branch downstream of GPCR. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            Hippo signaling: growth control and beyond.

            The Hippo pathway has emerged as a conserved signaling pathway that is essential for the proper regulation of organ growth in Drosophila and vertebrates. Although the mechanisms of signal transduction of the core kinases Hippo/Mst and Warts/Lats are relatively well understood, less is known about the upstream inputs of the pathway and about the downstream cellular and developmental outputs. Here, we review recently discovered mechanisms that contribute to the dynamic regulation of Hippo signaling during Drosophila and vertebrate development. We also discuss the expanding diversity of Hippo signaling functions during development, discoveries that shed light on a complex regulatory system and provide exciting new insights into the elusive mechanisms that regulate organ growth and regeneration.
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              The interaction between N-WASP and the Arp2/3 complex links Cdc42-dependent signals to actin assembly.

              Although small GTP-binding proteins of the Rho family have been implicated in signaling to the actin cytoskeleton, the exact nature of the linkage has remained obscure. We describe a novel mechanism that links one Rho family member, Cdc42, to actin polymerization. N-WASP, a ubiquitously expressed Cdc42-interacting protein, is required for Cdc42-stimulated actin polymerization in Xenopus egg extracts. The C terminus of N-WASP binds to the Arp2/3 complex and dramatically stimulates its ability to nucleate actin polymerization. Although full-length N-WASP is less effective, its activity can be greatly enhanced by Cdc42 and phosphatidylinositol (4,5) bisphosphate. Therefore, N-WASP and the Arp2/3 complex comprise a core mechanism that directly connects signal transduction pathways to the stimulation of actin polymerization.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS Genet
                PLoS Genet
                PLoS Genetics
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                March 2013
                March 2013
                21 March 2013
                : 9
                : 3
                [1 ]Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                [2 ]Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                [3 ]Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, Korea
                University of Michigan, United States of America
                Author notes

                The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: AR HM. Performed the experiments: AR RPS AG. Analyzed the data: AR RPS MB-L HM. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: CC D-SL JW TP. Wrote the paper: AR HM.


                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Pages: 17
                This work was supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (funding reference number 84468) and the Kidney Foundation of Canada to HM and by a postdoctoral fellowship from the FRM to AR. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Research Article
                Developmental Biology
                Pattern Formation
                Model Organisms
                Animal Models
                Molecular Cell Biology
                Signal Transduction
                Signaling Pathways
                Cell Growth
                Gene Expression



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