Human papillomavirus targets the YAP1-LATS2 feedback loop to drive cervical cancer development

Cong Huang, Xiangmin Lv, Peichao Chen, Jiyuan Liu, Chunbo He, Li Chen, Hongbo Wang, Madelyn L. Moness, Jixin Dong, Bo R. Rueda, John S. Davis, Cheng Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is very common in sexually active women, but cervical cancer only develops in a small fraction of HPV-infected women, suggesting that unknown intrinsic factors associated with the unique genetic/genomic background of the high-risk population play a critical role in cervical carcinogenesis. Although our previous studies have identified the hyperactivated YAP1 oncogene as a critical contributor to cervical cancer, the molecular mechanism by which YAP1 drives cervical cancer is unknown. In the present study, we found that although the hyperactivated YAP1 caused a malignant transformation of immortalized cervical epithelial cells, it induced cellular senescence in cultures of primary human cervical epithelial cells (HCvECs). However, the hyperactivated YAP1 induced malignant transformation of HCvECs in the presence of high-risk HPV E6/E7 proteins, suggesting that the hyperactivated YAP1 synergizes with HPV to initiate cervical cancer development. Our mechanistic studies demonstrate that YAP1, via up-regulating LATS2, formed a YAP1-LATS2 negative feedback loop in cervical epithelial cells to maintain homeostasis of cervical tissue. Intriguingly, we found that high-risk HPV targets LATS2 to disrupt the feedback loop leading to the malignant transformation of cervical epithelial cells. Finally, we report that mitomycin C, an FDA-approved drug that could upregulate LATS2 and drive cellular senescence in vitro and in vivo, induced a regression of cervical cancer in a pre-clinial animal model. Thus, high-risk HPV targeting the YAP1-LATS2 feedback loop represents a new mechanism of cervical cancer development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3761-3777
Number of pages17
Issue number30
StatePublished - Jul 22 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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