Sphingosylphosphorylcholine regulates the Hippo signaling pathway in a dual manner.Cell Signal. 2016 12; 28(12):1894-1903.CS
Sphingosylphosphorylcholine (SPC) is a bioactive sphingolipid which regulates many cancer-related processes, including cellular proliferation. The Hippo signaling pathway consists of a cascade of tumor suppressive kinases Mst1/2 and Lats1/2 and their downstream targets YAP and TAZ which are generally pro-proliferative transcriptional regulators. Direct phosphorylation by Lats1/2 causes inhibition or degradation of YAP/TAZ and down-regulation of their target genes. We found SPC treatment of MDA-MB-435S breast cancer cells to strongly inhibit their proliferation and to induce a sustained Lats2 protein expression (6-24h). Therefore, we hypothesized that Hippo signaling might mediate the anti-proliferative SPC response. We also saw a cell density-dependent increase in S127-phosphorylated YAP (pS127-YAP) and a decrease in mRNA levels of YAP target genes (CTGF, Cyr61) in response to long (9h) SPC treatment. Knockdown of S1P receptor 2 (S1P2) prevented the SPC-induced up-regulation of Lats2 and attenuated the anti-proliferative effect of SPC. However, while knockdown of Lats2 alone or in combination with Lats1 expectedly increased basal proliferation it did not attenuate the SPC-induced inhibition of proliferation. Exogenous expression of wild-type or kinase-dead Lats2 and knockdown of YAP/TAZ also had no effect on the anti-proliferative SPC response. It has been previously shown that activation of S1P2-G12/13 by sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) leads to rapid de-phosphorylation and up-regulation of YAP. Similarly, we saw a decrease in pS127-YAP and an increase in total YAP levels with short (1h) SPC treatment as well as a subsequent transient increase in YAP target gene expression. Inhibition of S1P2 prevented the SPC-induced YAP de-phosphorylation. The rapid YAP activation and subsequent up-regulation of Lats2 mRNA does not constitute a negative feedback loop as knockdown of YAP/TAZ did not inhibit SPC-induced Lats2 expression. In conclusion, in this study we show that SPC is able to regulate Hippo signaling in a dual and opposite manner, causing an initial activation of YAP followed by an inhibition. However, even the strong SPC-induced effects seen in Lats2 and YAP did not mediate the anti-proliferative SPC response.