The Hippo pathway transcriptional co-activator, YAP, confers resistance to cisplatin in human oral squamous cell carcinoma

Kyohei Yoshikawa, Kazuma Noguchi, Yoshiro Nakano, Michiyo Yamamura, Kazuki Takaoka, Tomoko Hashimoto-Tamaoki, Hiromitsu Kishimoto
International Journal of Oncology 2015, 46 (6): 2364-70
Cisplatin (CDDP) is widely used to treat oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), however, many patients exhibit acquired drug resistance. Yes-associated protein (YAP) is a transcriptional co-activator of the Hippo pathway that regulates organ size and promotes cell proliferation. YAP overexpression correlates with epithelial-mesenchymal transition and nodal metastasis, resulting in anti-tubulin drug resistance. Whether YAP overexpression is the cause of CDDP resistance in cancer cells is unclear, therefore, we investigated the correlation between YAP expression and CDDP sensitivity. We established three CDDP-resistant cell lines (OSC-19-R, SCCKN-R and HSC-3-R) from the OSCC parental cell lines. We also examined the expression levels of ATP7B, GST-π and ERCC1, which are strongly associated with CDDP resistance, and Hippo pathway-related proteins by western blotting. Using immunocytochemistry, we examined the cellular localization of YAP. Additionally, following knockdown of YAP using short interfering RNAs (siRNAs), we analyzed changes in sensitivity to CDDP. Compared with parental OSC-19 cells, OSC-19-R cells were obviously larger. Expression levels of YAP were not significantly different between OSC-19 and OSC-19-R. However, expression levels of phosphorylated YAP in OSC-19-R were decreased. We observed translocation of YAP from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in OSC-19-R cells. Knockdown of YAP using siRNAs revealed that sensitivity to CDDP was significantly increased. Translocation of YAP correlated with the acquisition of CDDP resistance. YAP could be a new therapeutic target for the treatment of patients with cancer that are resistant to CDDP.

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