The Hippo pathway effectors TAZ/YAP regulate dicer expression and microRNA biogenesis through Let-7

Steven G Chaulk, Victoria J Lattanzi, Samantha E Hiemer, Richard P Fahlman, Xaralabos Varelas
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2014 January 24, 289 (4): 1886-91
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are genome-encoded small double-stranded RNAs that have emerged as key regulators of gene expression and are implicated in most aspects of human development and disease. Canonical miRNA biogenesis involves processing of ∼70-nucleotide pre-miRNA hairpins by Dicer to generate mature ∼22-nucleotide miRNAs, which target complementary RNA sequences. Despite the importance of miRNA biogenesis, signaling mechanisms controlling this process are poorly defined. Here we demonstrate that the post-transcriptional regulation of Dicer is controlled by the cell density-mediated localization of the Hippo pathway effectors TAZ (transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif) and YAP (Yes-associated protein) (TAZ/YAP). We show that nuclear TAZ/YAP, which are abundant at low cell density, are required for efficient pre-miRNA processing. Knockdown of TAZ/YAP in low density cells, or density-mediated sequestration of TAZ/YAP into the cytoplasm, results in the defective processing of pre-miRNAs. Strikingly, one exception is Let-7, which accumulates upon loss of nuclear TAZ/YAP, leading to Let-7-dependent reduction in Dicer levels. Accordingly, inhibition of Let-7 rescues the miRNA biogenesis defects observed following TAZ/YAP knockdown. Thus, density-regulated TAZ/YAP localization defines a critical and previously unrecognized mechanism by which cells relay cell contact-induced cues to control miRNA biogenesis.

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