Regeneration is a process by which organisms replace damaged or amputated organs to restore normal body parts. Regeneration of many tissues or organs requires proliferation of stem cells or stem cell-like blastema cells. This regenerative growth is often initiated by cell death pathways induced by damage. The executors of regenerative growth are a group of growth-promoting signaling pathways, including JAK/STAT, EGFR, Hippo/YAP, and Wnt/β-catenin. These pathways are also essential to developmental growth, but in regeneration, they are activated in distinct ways and often at higher strengths, under the regulation by certain stress-responsive signaling pathways, including JNK signaling. Growth suppressors are important in termination of regeneration to prevent unlimited growth and also contribute to the loss of regenerative capacity in nonregenerative organs. Here, we review cellular and molecular growth regulation mechanisms induced by organ damage in several models with different regenerative capacities.
Mechanical forces have been proposed to modulate organ growth, but a molecular mechanism that links them to growth regulation in vivo has been lacking. We report that increasing tension within the cytoskeleton increases Drosophila wing growth, whereas decreasing cytoskeletal tension decreases wing growth. These changes in growth can be accounted for by changes in the activity of Yorkie, a transcription factor regulated by the Hippo pathway. The influence of myosin activity on Yorkie depends genetically on the Ajuba LIM protein Jub, a negative regulator of Warts within the Hippo pathway. We further show that Jub associates with α-catenin and that its localization to adherens junctions and association with α-catenin are promoted by cytoskeletal tension. Jub recruits Warts to junctions in a tension-dependent manner. Our observations delineate a mechanism that links cytoskeletal tension to regulation of Hippo pathway activity, providing a molecular understanding of how mechanical forces can modulate organ growth.
Hippo signaling limits organ growth by inhibiting the transcriptional coactivator Yorkie. Despite the key role of Yorkie in both normal and oncogenic growth, the mechanism by which it activates transcription has not been defined. We report that Yorkie binding to chromatin correlates with histone H3K4 methylation and is sufficient to locally increase it. We show that Yorkie can recruit a histone methyltransferase complex through binding between WW domains of Yorkie and PPxY sequence motifs of NcoA6, a subunit of the Trithorax-related (Trr) methyltransferase complex. Cell culture and in vivo assays establish that this recruitment of NcoA6 contributes to Yorkie's ability to activate transcription. Mammalian NcoA6, a subunit of Trr-homologous methyltransferase complexes, can similarly interact with Yorkie's mammalian homolog YAP. Our results implicate direct recruitment of a histone methyltransferase complex as central to transcriptional activation by Yorkie, linking the control of cell proliferation by Hippo signaling to chromatin modification.