Disrupted liver regeneration following hepatectomy represents an “undruggable” clinical challenge associated with poor patient outcomes. Yes-associated protein (YAP), a transcriptional coactivator that is repressed by the Hippo pathway, is instrumental in liver regeneration. We have previously described an alternative, Hippo-independent mechanism of YAP activation mediated by downregulation of protein tyrosine phosphatase nonreceptor type 11 (PTPN11, also known as SHP2) inhibition. Herein, we examined the effects of YAP activation with a selective SHP1/SHP2 inhibitor, NSC-87877, on liver regeneration in murine partial hepatectomy models. In our studies, NSC-87877 led to accelerated hepatocyte proliferation, improved liver regeneration, and decreased markers of injury following partial hepatectomy. The effects of NSC-87877 were lost in mice with hepatocyte-specific Yap/Taz deletion, and this demonstrated dependence on these molecules for the enhanced regenerative response. Furthermore, administration of NSC-87877 to murine models of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis was associated with improved survival and decreased markers of injury after hepatectomy. Evaluation of transcriptomic changes in the context of NSC-87877 administration revealed reduction in fibrotic signaling and augmentation of cell cycle signaling. Cytoprotective changes included downregulation of Nr4a1, an apoptosis inducer. Collectively, the data suggest that SHP2 inhibition induces a pro-proliferative and cytoprotective enhancement of liver regeneration dependent on YAP.
Ryan D. Watkins, EeeLN H. Buckarma, Jennifer L. Tomlinson, Chantal E. McCabe, Jennifer A. Yonkus, Nathan W. Werneburg, Rachel L. Bayer, Patrick P. Starlinger, Keith D. Robertson, Chen Wang, Gregory J. Gores, Rory L. Smoot