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RASSF1A is a tumor suppressor gene that is epigenetically silenced in a wide variety of sporadic human malignancies. Expression of alternative RASSF1 isoforms cannot substitute for RASSF1A-promoted cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis. Apoptosis can be driven by either activating Bax or by activation of MST kinases. The Raf1 proto-oncogene binds to MST2, preventing its activation and proapoptotic signaling. Here we show that key steps in RASSF1A-induced apoptosis are the disruption of the inhibitory Raf1-MST2 complex by RASSF1A and the concomitant enhancement of MST2 interaction with its substrate, LATS1. Subsequently, RASSF1A-activated LATS1 phosphorylates and releases the transcriptional regulator YAP1, allowing YAP1 to translocate to the nucleus and associate with p73, resulting in transcription of the proapoptotic target gene puma. Our results describe an MST2-dependent effector pathway for RASSF1A proapoptotic signaling and indicate that silencing of RASSF1A in tumors removes a proapoptotic signal emanating from p73.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Cell

Publication Date





962 - 975


Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing, Apoptosis, Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Nucleus, DNA-Binding Proteins, Humans, Models, Biological, Nuclear Proteins, Phosphoproteins, Phosphorylation, Protein Binding, Protein Transport, Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases, Proto-Oncogene Proteins, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-raf, Signal Transduction, Transcription, Genetic, Tumor Protein p73, Tumor Suppressor Protein p53, Tumor Suppressor Proteins