Hippo signaling pathway is an evolutionarily conserved pathway that controls organ size by regulating cell proliferation, apoptosis and stem cell self-renewal. TAZ (transcriptional coactivator with the PDZ-binding motif) is a key downstream effector of the mammalian Hippo pathway. Here, using a transgenic mouse model with mammary-gland-specific expression of constitutively active TAZ, we found that TAZ induction in mammary epithelial cells was associated with an increase in mammary glandular size, which probably resulted from adipocyte hypertrophy. Consistent with its known oncogenic potential, we observed tumor formation in TAZ transgenic mice after administration of the carcinogen 7,12-dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA) and demonstrated that tumorigenesis was reliant on the presence of TAZ. Our findings establish a previously unknown roles of TAZ in regulating both mammary gland morphogenesis as well as carcinogen-induced mammary tumor formation.
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