The Epithelial Circumferential Actin Belt Regulates YAP/TAZ through Nucleocytoplasmic Shuttling of Merlin.
Cell Rep. 2017 Aug 8;20(6):1435-1447. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.07.032.
Circumferential actin belts underlying the adherens junctions of columnar epithelial cell monolayers control intercellular surface tension and cell shape to maintain tissue integrity. Yes-associated protein (YAP) and its paralog TAZ are proliferation-activating transcriptional coactivators that shuttle between the nucleus and cytoplasm. Previous studies suggest the importance of stress fibers in the actin cytoskeleton for regulation of YAP nuclear localization; however, the role of the circumferential actin belt on YAP localization remains unclarified. By manipulating actin tension, we demonstrate that circumferential actin belt tension suppresses YAP/TAZ nuclear localization. This suppression requires Merlin, an F-actin binding protein associated with adherens junctions. Merlin physically interacts with YAP/TAZ, and nuclear export sequences of Merlin are required for suppression. Together, with the observation that the association between E-cadherin and Merlin was diminished by tension in circumferential actin belts, our results suggest that released Merlin undergoes nucleocytoplasmic shutting and mediates export of YAP/TAZ from the nucleus.