Background: Frequent activation of the co-transcriptional factor YAP is observed in a large number of solid tumors. Activated YAP associates with enhancer loci via TEAD4-DNA-binding protein and stimulates cancer aggressiveness. Although thousands of YAP/TEAD4 binding-sites are annotated, their functional importance is unknown. Here, we aim at further identification of enhancer elements that are required for YAP functions. Results: We first apply genome-wide ChIP profiling of YAP to systematically identify enhancers that are bound by YAP/TEAD4. Next, we implement a genetic approach to uncover functions of YAP/TEAD4-associated enhancers, demonstrate its robustness, and use it to reveal a network of enhancers required for YAP-mediated proliferation. We focus on EnhancerTRAM2, as its target gene TRAM2 shows the strongest expression-correlation with YAP activity in nearly all tumor types. Interestingly, TRAM2 phenocopies the YAP-induced cell proliferation, migration, and invasion phenotypes and correlates with poor patient survival. Mechanistically, we identify FSTL-1 as a major direct client of TRAM2 that is involved in these phenotypes. Thus, TRAM2 is a key novel mediator of YAP-induced oncogenic proliferation and cellular invasiveness. Conclusions: YAP is a transcription co-factor that binds to thousands of enhancer loci and stimulates tumor aggressiveness. Using unbiased functional approaches, we dissect YAP enhancer network and characterize TRAM2 as a novel mediator of cellular proliferation, migration, and invasion. Our findings elucidate how YAP induces cancer aggressiveness and may assist diagnosis of cancer metastasis.

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Genome Biology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Li, L. (Li), Ugalde, A.P, Scheele, C.L.G.J. (Colinda L. G. J.), Dieter, S.M. (Sebastian M.), Nagel, C.R, Ma, J. (Jin), … Agami, R. (2021). A comprehensive enhancer screen identifies TRAM2 as a key and novel mediator of YAP oncogenesis. Genome Biology, 22(1). doi:10.1186/s13059-021-02272-8