Claudin-2 inhibits renal clear cell carcinoma progression by inhibiting YAP-activation

Balawant Kumar, Rizwan Ahmad, Giovanna A. Giannico, Roy Zent, Geoffrey A. Talmon, Raymond C. Harris, Peter E. Clark, Vinata Lokeshwar, Punita Dhawan, Amar B. Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Claudin-2 expression is upregulated in multiple cancers and promotes cancer malignancy. Remarkably, the regulation of claudin-2 expression in kidney cell lines contrasts its reported regulation in other organs. However, claudin-2 role in renal clear cell carcinoma (RCC) remains unknown despite its predominant expression in the proximal tubular epithelium (PTE), the site of RCC origin. Methods: Publicly available and independent patient databases were examined for claudin-2 association with RCC. The novel protein function was validated in vitro and in vivo by gain or loss of function assays. Mechanistic results were concluded by Mass spectroscopy, immunoprecipitation and mutational studies, and functional evaluations. Results: We show that the significant decrease in claudin-2 expression characterized PTE cells and Ex-vivo cultured mouse kidney subjected to dedifferentiation. Inhibition of claudin-2 was enough to induce mesenchymal plasticity and invasive mobility in these models. Further, a progressive loss of claudin-2 expression associated with the RCC progression and poor patient survival. Overexpression of claudin-2 in RCC-derived cancer cells inhibited tumorigenic abilities and xenograft tumor growth. These data supported a novel tumor-suppressive role of claudin-2 in RCC. Mechanistic insights further revealed that claudin-2 associates with YAP-protein and modulates its phosphorylation (S127) and nuclear expression. The tumor suppressive effects of claudin-2 expression were lost upon deletion of its PDZ-binding motif emphasizing the critical role of the PDZ-domain in claudin-2 interaction with YAP in regulating RCC malignancy. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate a novel kidney specific tumor suppressive role for claudin-2 protein and further demonstrate that claudin-2 co-operates with the YAP signaling in regulating the RCC malignancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number77
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • De-differentiation
  • Hippo/yap signaling
  • Proliferation
  • Renal Cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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