Yap regulates glucose utilization and sustains nucleotide synthesis to enable organ growth

EMBO J. 2018 Nov 15;37(22):e100294. doi: 10.15252/embj.2018100294. Epub 2018 Oct 22.


The Hippo pathway and its nuclear effector Yap regulate organ size and cancer formation. While many modulators of Hippo activity have been identified, little is known about the Yap target genes that mediate these growth effects. Here, we show that yap -/- mutant zebrafish exhibit defects in hepatic progenitor potential and liver growth due to impaired glucose transport and nucleotide biosynthesis. Transcriptomic and metabolomic analyses reveal that Yap regulates expression of glucose transporter glut1, causing decreased glucose uptake and use for nucleotide biosynthesis in yap -/- mutants, and impaired glucose tolerance in adults. Nucleotide supplementation improves Yap deficiency phenotypes, indicating functional importance of glucose-fueled nucleotide biosynthesis. Yap-regulated glut1 expression and glucose uptake are conserved in mammals, suggesting that stimulation of anabolic glucose metabolism is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism by which the Hippo pathway controls organ growth. Together, our results reveal a central role for Hippo signaling in glucose metabolic homeostasis.

Keywords: Hippo pathway; Yap; glucose metabolism; glut1; liver development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glucose / genetics
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1 / genetics
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1 / metabolism
  • Liver / embryology*
  • Mice
  • Nucleotides / biosynthesis*
  • Nucleotides / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins / metabolism*


  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • Nucleotides
  • Trans-Activators
  • Yes-associated protein (yap), zebrafish
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • stk3 protein, zebrafish
  • Glucose