Targeted Disruption of Lats1 and Lats2 in Mice Impairs Adrenal Cortex Development and Alters Adrenocortical Cell Fate

Endocrinology. 2020 May 1;161(5):bqaa052. doi: 10.1210/endocr/bqaa052.


It has recently been shown that the loss of the Hippo signaling effectors Yes-associated protein (YAP) and transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) in adrenocortical steroidogenic cells impairs the postnatal maintenance of the adrenal gland. To further explore the role of Hippo signaling in mouse adrenocortical cells, we conditionally deleted the key Hippo kinases large tumor suppressor homolog kinases 1 and -2 (Lats1 and Lats2, two kinases that antagonize YAP and TAZ transcriptional co-regulatory activity) in steroidogenic cells using an Nr5a1-cre strain (Lats1flox/flox;Lats2flox/flox;Nr5a1-cre). We report here that developing adrenocortical cells adopt characteristics of myofibroblasts in both male and female Lats1flox/flox;Lats2flox/flox;Nr5a1-cre mice, resulting in a loss of steroidogenic gene expression, adrenal failure and death by 2 to 3 weeks of age. A marked accumulation of YAP and TAZ in the nuclei of the myofibroblast-like cell population with an accompanying increase in the expression of their transcriptional target genes in the adrenal glands of Lats1flox/flox;Lats2flox/flox;Nr5a1-cre animals suggested that the myofibroblastic differentiation could be attributed in part to YAP and TAZ. Taken together, our results suggest that Hippo signaling is required to maintain proper adrenocortical cell differentiation and suppresses their differentiation into myofibroblast-like cells.

Keywords: LATS1; LATS2; adrenal gland; adrenocortical cells; development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex / cytology
  • Adrenal Cortex / embryology
  • Adrenal Cortex / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Organogenesis / genetics*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / deficiency
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Steroidogenic Factor 1 / genetics
  • Steroidogenic Factor 1 / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / deficiency
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics*


  • Steroidogenic Factor 1
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Lats1 protein, mouse
  • LATS2 protein, mouse
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases