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Title: Deubiquitination and control of the Hippo pathway
Author: Toloczko, Aleksandra
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 9649
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2017
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The Hippo signalling pathway is an evolutionarily conserved kinase cascade responsible for the cell proliferation, tissue growth and apoptosis during development and its dysregulation contributes to tumourigenesis. This signalling pathway was initially discovered in Drosophila and soon after that, it was shown to be highly conserved in mammals. The core Lats kinases of this tumour suppressive pathway phosphorylate and inhibit the downstream transcriptional co-activators YAP and TAZ, which are implicated in various cancers. Latest reports revealed various E3 ubiquitin ligases to negatively regulate the Hippo pathway through ubiquitination, yet few deubiquitinating enzymes have been described. In the present study, we report USP9X deubiquitinating enzyme as an essential regulator of the central components of this pathway. USP9X interacted strongly with Lats2 kinase and to a lesser extent with WW45, Kibra and Angiomotin family proteins. The knockdown of USP9X resulted in notable downregulation and destabilisation of Lats kinase and to lesser extents WW45, Kibra and Amot. This resulted in enhanced nuclear localisation of YAP and TAZ accompanied with activation of their target genes, CTGF and CYR61. USP9X was shown to stabilise Hippo components through its deubiquitinating activity. USP9X enzyme defective mutant lost the activity to stabilise Lats2, WW45, Kibra and Angiomotins through deubiquitination, leading to their ubiquitination. In the absence of USP9X, cells exhibited epithelial to mesenchymal transition phenotype and additionally gained anchorage-independent growth in soft agar. Moreover, USP9X knockdown disrupted acinar organisation of breast cells in three-dimensional acini cultures. In addition, YAP/TAZ target gene activation in USP9X knockdown cells could be rescued by knockdown of YAP, TAZ and TEAD2. Lastly, USP9X protein expression showed a positive correlation with Lats kinases, but negative correlation with YAP/TAZ in pancreatic cancer tissues as well as pancreatic and breast cancer cell lines. The results strongly indicate that USP9X cooperates with Lats2 and other important Hippo components to suppress tumour growth.
Supervisor: Tournier, Cathy ; Dunne, Mark Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TEAD ; TAZ ; YAP ; Lats kinase ; USP9X ; Hippo pathway