LATS1/2 suppress NFκB and aberrant EMT initiation to permit pancreatic progenitor differentiation

Caitlin M. Braitsch, D. Berfin Azizoglu, Yadanar Htike, Haley R. Barlow, Ulrike Schnell, Christopher P. Chaney, Thomas J. Carroll, Ben Z. Stanger, Ondine Cleaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The Hippo pathway directs cell differentiation during organogenesis, in part by restricting proliferation. How Hippo signaling maintains a proliferation-differentiation balance in developing tissues via distinct molecular targets is only beginning to be understood. Our study makes the unexpected finding that Hippo suppresses nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NFκB) signaling in pancreatic progenitors to permit cell differentiation and epithelial morphogenesis. We find that pancreas-specific deletion of the large tumor suppressor kinases 1 and 2 (Lats1/2PanKO) from mouse progenitor epithelia results in failure to differentiate key pancreatic lineages: acinar, ductal, and endocrine. We carried out an unbiased transcriptome analysis to query differentiation defects in Lats1/2PanKO. This analysis revealed increased expression of NFκB activators, including the pantetheinase vanin1 (Vnn1). Using in vivo and ex vivo studies, we show that VNN1 activates a detrimental cascade of processes in Lats1/2PanKO epithelium, including (1) NFκB activation and (2) aberrant initiation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which together disrupt normal differentiation. We show that exogenous stimulation of VNN1 or NFκB can trigger this cascade in wild-type (WT) pancreatic progenitors. These findings reveal an unexpected requirement for active suppression of NFκB by LATS1/2 during pancreas development, which restrains a cell-autonomous deleterious transcriptional program and thereby allows epithelial differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere3000382
JournalPLoS biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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