Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program


Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

First Thesis Advisor

Dannel McCollum


Hippo signaling pathway, TRIP6, vinculin, LATS, MOB, YAP, stretch, mechanosensing, mechanical tension, adheres junction, cell junction


Mechanical tension is an important regulator of cell proliferation, differentiation, migration and cell death. It is involved in the control of tissue architecture and wound repair and its improper sensing can contribute to cancer. The Hippo tumor suppressor pathway was recently shown to be involved in regulating cell proliferation in response to mechanical tension. The core of the pathway consists of the kinases MST1/2 and LATS1/2, which regulate the target of the pathway, the transcription co-activator YAP/ TAZ (hereafter referred to as YAP). When the Hippo pathway is inactive, YAP remains in the nucleus and promotes cell proliferation and stem cell maintenance. When the Hippo signaling pathway is turned on, MST1/2 phosphorylate and activates LATS1/2. LATS1/2 phosphorylates and inactivates YAP in the cytoplasm which is sequestered and degraded, stopping cell proliferation and promoting differentiation of stem cells. Mechanical forces are transmitted across cells and tissues through the cell-cell junctions and the actin cytoskeleton. However, the factors that connect cell-cell junctions to the Hippo signaling pathway were not clearly known. We identified a LIM domain protein called TRIP6 that functions at the adherens junctions to regulate the Hippo signaling pathway in a tension-dependent manner. TRIP6 responds to mechanical tension at adherens junctions and regulates LATS1/2 activity. Under high mechanical tension, TRIP6 sequesters and inhibits LATS1/2 at adherens junctions to promote YAP activity. Conditions that reduce tension at adherens junctions by inhibition of actin stress fibers or disruption of cell-cell junctions reduce TRIP6-LATS1/2 binding, which activates LATS1/2 to inhibit YAP. Vinculin has been shown to act as part of a mechanosensory complex at adherens junctions. We show that vinculin promotes TRIP6 inhibition of LATS1/2 in response to mechanical tension. Furthermore, we show that TRIP6 competitively inhibits MOB1 (a known LATS1/2 activator) from binding and activating LATS1/2. Together these findings reveal TRIP6 responds to mechanical signals at adherens junctions to regulate the Hippo signaling pathway in mammalian cells.



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