Heavy metals are both integral parts of cells and environmental toxicants, and their deregulation is associated with severe cellular dysfunction and various diseases. Here we show that the Hippo pathway plays a critical role in regulating heavy metal homeostasis. Hippo signalling deficiency promotes the transcription of heavy metal response genes and protects cells from heavy metal-induced toxicity, a process independent of its classic downstream effectors YAP and TAZ. Mechanistically, the Hippo pathway kinase LATS phosphorylates and inhibits MTF1, an essential transcription factor in the heavy metal response, resulting in the loss of heavy metal response gene transcription and cellular protection. Moreover, LATS activity is inhibited following heavy metal treatment, where accumulated zinc directly binds and inhibits LATS. Together, our study reveals an interplay between the Hippo pathway and heavy metals, providing insights into this growth-related pathway in tissue homeostasis and stress response.
© 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.