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S1P Stimulates Proliferation by Up-regulating CTGF Expression through S1PR2-mediated YAP Activation

Posted June 14, 2018 | Publications

Cheng JC, Wang EY, Yi Y, Thakur A, Tsai SH, Hoodless PA. Mol Cancer Res. 2018 Jun 14. pii: molcanres.0681.2017.

Dysregulation of the Hippo pathway in the liver results in overgrowth and eventually tumorigenesis. To date, several upstream mechanisms have been identified that affect the Hippo pathway; that ultimately regulate YAP, the major downstream effector of the pathway. However, upstream regulators of the Hippo pathway in the liver remain poorly defined. Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a bioactive sphingolipid metabolite that has been shown to stimulate hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell proliferation, but whether the Hippo pathway is involved in S1P-stimulated HCC cell proliferation remains to be determined. Here it is demonstrated that S1P activates YAP and that the S1P receptor 2 (S1PR2/S1P2) mediates S1P-induced YAP activation in both human and mouse HCC cells. S1P promotes YAP-mediated up-regulation of cysteine-rich protein 61 (CYR61) and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), and stimulates HCC cell proliferation. By using siRNA-mediated knockdown approaches, only CTGF was required for S1P-stimulated cell proliferation. Of note, S1P activates YAP in a MST1/2-independent manner suggesting that the canonical Hippo kinase is not required for S1P mediated proliferation in liver. The up-regulation of CTGF and S1P2 were also observed in liver-specific YAP overexpression transgenic mouse hepatocytes. Moreover, YAP regulated liver differentiation-dependent gene expression by influencing the chromatin binding of HNF4α based on ChIP-seq analysis. Finally, results using gain- and loss-of-function approaches demonstrate that HNF4α negatively regulated S1P-induced CTGF expression.

These findings reveal a role for S1P in stimulating HCC cell proliferation by up-regulating CTGF expression through S1P2-mediated YAP activation.

PMID: 29903770