Rho family mechano-signaling through the actin cytoskeleton positively regulates physiological TEAD/YAP transcription, while the evolutionarily conserved Hippo tumor suppressor pathway antagonizes this transcription through YAP cytoplasmic localization/degradation. The mechanisms responsible for oncogenic dysregulation of these pathways, their prevalence in tumors, as well as how such dysregulation can be therapeutically targeted are not resolved. We demonstrate that p53 DNA contact mutants in human tumors, indirectly hyperactivate RhoA/ROCK1/actomyosin signaling, which is both necessary and sufficient to drive oncogenic TEAD/YAP transcription. Moreover, we demonstrate that recurrent lesions in the Hippo pathway depend on physiological levels of ROCK1/actomyosin signaling for oncogenic TEAD/YAP transcription. Finally, we show that ROCK inhibitors selectively antagonize proliferation and motility of human tumors with either mechanism. Thus, we identify a cancer driver paradigm and a precision medicine approach for selective targeting of human malignancies driven by TEAD/YAP transcription through mechanisms that either upregulate or depend on homeostatic RhoA mechano-signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number703
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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