The Hippo Pathway: Biology and Pathophysiology

Annu Rev Biochem. 2019 Jun 20:88:577-604. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biochem-013118-111829. Epub 2019 Dec 19.


The Hippo pathway was initially discovered in Drosophila melanogaster as a key regulator of tissue growth. It is an evolutionarily conserved signaling cascade regulating numerous biological processes, including cell growth and fate decision, organ size control, and regeneration. The core of the Hippo pathway in mammals consists of a kinase cascade, MST1/2 and LATS1/2, as well as downstream effectors, transcriptional coactivators YAP and TAZ. These core components of the Hippo pathway control transcriptional programs involved in cell proliferation, survival, mobility, stemness, and differentiation. The Hippo pathway is tightly regulated by both intrinsic and extrinsic signals, such as mechanical force, cell-cell contact, polarity, energy status, stress, and many diffusible hormonal factors, the majority of which act through G protein-coupled receptors. Here, we review the current understanding of molecular mechanisms by which signals regulate the Hippo pathway with an emphasis on mechanotransduction and the effects of this pathway on basic biology and human diseases.

Keywords: Hippo; LATS; TAZ; YAP; cancer; mechanotransduction; phosphorylation; signal transduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hippo Signaling Pathway
  • Humans
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / physiology
  • Serine-Threonine Kinase 3
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism


  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • LATS1 protein, human
  • LATS2 protein, human
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • STK3 protein, human
  • Serine-Threonine Kinase 3