YAP/TAZ as mechanosensors and mechanotransducers in regulating organ size and tumor growth

FEBS Lett. 2014 Aug 19;588(16):2663-70. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2014.04.012. Epub 2014 Apr 18.


Organ size is controlled by the concerted action of biochemical and physical processes. Although mechanical forces are known to regulate cell and tissue behavior, as well as organogenesis, the precise molecular events that integrate mechanical and biochemical signals to control these processes are not fully known. The recently delineated Hippo-tumor suppressor network and its two nuclear effectors, YAP and TAZ, shed light on these mechanisms. YAP and TAZ are proto-oncogene proteins that respond to complex physical milieu represented by the rigidity of the extracellular matrix, cell geometry, cell density, cell polarity and the status of the actin cytoskeleton. Here, we review the current knowledge of how YAP and TAZ function as mechanosensors and mechanotransducers. We also suggest that by deciphering the mechanical and biochemical signals controlling YAP/TAZ function, we will gain insights into new strategies for cancer treatment and organ regeneration.

Keywords: Hippo tumor suppressor; Mechanosensor; Mechanotransducer; Organ size; YAP/TAZ.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Humans
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Organ Size
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Phosphoproteins
  • TAZ protein, human
  • Transcription Factors
  • YAP1 (Yes-associated) protein, human