WWTR1(TAZ)- CAMTA1 gene fusion is sufficient to dysregulate YAP/TAZ signaling and drive epithelioid hemangioendothelioma tumorigenesis

Genes Dev. 2021 Apr 1;35(7-8):512-527. doi: 10.1101/gad.348220.120. Epub 2021 Mar 25.


Epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (EHE) is a genetically homogenous vascular sarcoma that is a paradigm for TAZ dysregulation in cancer. EHE harbors a WWTR1(TAZ)-CAMTA1 gene fusion in >90% of cases, 45% of which have no other genetic alterations. In this study, we used a first of its kind approach to target the Wwtr1-Camta1 gene fusion to the Wwtr1 locus, to develop a conditional EHE mouse model whereby Wwtr1-Camta1 is controlled by the endogenous transcriptional regulators upon Cre activation. These mice develop EHE tumors that are indistinguishable from human EHE clinically, histologically, immunohistochemically, and genetically. Overall, these results demonstrate unequivocally that TAZ-CAMTA1 is sufficient to drive EHE formation with exquisite specificity, as no other tumor types were observed. Furthermore, we fully credential this unique EHE mouse model as a valid preclinical model for understanding the role of TAZ dysregulation in cancer formation and for testing therapies directed at TAZ-CAMTA1, TAZ, and YAP/TAZ signaling.

Keywords: FLEx system; Hippo pathway; TAZ-CAMTA1; YAP/TAZ; endothelial cells; epithelioid hemangioendothelioma; fusion gene; mouse models of cancer; sarcoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Gene Fusion*
  • Hemangioendothelioma, Epithelioid / genetics*
  • Hemangioendothelioma, Epithelioid / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • CAMTA1 protein, mouse
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Wwtr1 protein, mouse