Nomination for the 2019 Cancer Center Discovery of the Year – Congratulations to Dr. Jason Liu
Dr. Jason Liu has been nominated for the Mays Cancer Center 2019 Discovery of the Year Award for his publication, A non-canonical role of YAP/TEAD is required for activation of estrogen-regulated enhancers in breast cancer, in Molecular Cell.
YAP and TEAD are nuclear effectors of the Hippo signaling pathway that regulates organ size and tumorigenesis through their chromatin-associated functions on gene promoters. In this study, Dr. Liu and his trainees unveil a non-canonical function of these nuclear factors in gene expression germane for understanding breast cancer development and progression. Specifically, through proteomics and other molecular analyses, a novel function of YAP1 and TEAD4 as co-regulators of estrogen/ERα responsive genes is found. Importantly, YAP and TEAD act as critical scaffolding elements in assembling a higher order protein complex needed for enhancer activity. These findings thus reveal a new role of YAP and TEAD in gene expression via an enhancer-specific function, and they also contribute toward delineating the basis of cancer cell growth that is driven by the expression of estrogen/ERα responsive genes. Moreover, this study highlights the potential of targeting YAP/TEAD in the treatment of ERα-positive breast cancer.
Chi Zhu, Li Li, Zhao Zhang, Mingjun Bi, Hu Wang, Wenyue Su, Karen Hernandez, Pingping Liu, Junqiang Chen, Mingqiu Chen, Tim Hui-Ming Huang, Lizhen Chen and Zhijie Liu*. A non-canonical role of YAP/TEAD is required for activation of estrogen-regulated enhancers in breast cancer. Molecular Cell. 2019 Aug 22;75(4):791-806. PMID: 31303470 (*lead author)