The transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) (WWTR1) induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition and enhances drug resistance in multiple cancers. TAZ has been shown to interact with transcription factors in the nucleus, but when phosphorylated, translocates to the cytoplasm and is degraded through proteasomes. Here, we identified a compound TAZ inhibitor 4 (TI-4) that shifted TAZ localization to the cytoplasm independently of its phosphorylation. We used affinity beads to ascertain a putative target of TI-4, chromosomal segregation 1 like (CSE1L), which is known to be involved in the recycling of importin α and as a biomarker of cancer malignancy. We found that TI-4 suppressed TAZ-mediated transcription in a CSE1L-dependent manner. CSE1L overexpression increased nuclear levels of TAZ, whereas CSE1L silencing delayed its nuclear import. We also found via the in vitro coimmunoprecipitation experiments that TI-4 strengthened the interaction between CSE1L and importin α5 and blocked the binding of importin α5 to TAZ. WWTR1 silencing attenuated CSE1L-promoted colony formation, motility, and invasiveness of human lung cancer and glioblastoma cells. Conversely, CSE1L silencing blocked TAZ-promoted colony formation, motility, and invasiveness in human lung cancer and glioblastoma cells. In human cancer tissues, the expression level of CSE1L was found to correlate with nuclear levels of TAZ. These findings support that CSE1L promotes the nuclear accumulation of TAZ and enhances malignancy in cancer cells.
Keywords: CSE1L; Hippo pathway; TAZ/WWTR1; nuclear transport.
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