WW domain-containing protein YAP associates with ErbB-4 and acts as a co-transcriptional activator for the carboxyl-terminal fragment of ErbB-4 that translocates to the nucleus.
The ErbB-4 receptor protein-tyrosine kinase is proteolytically processed by membrane proteases in response to the ligand or 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate stimulation resulting in the cytoplasmic fragment translocating to the cell nucleus. The WW domain-containing co-transcriptional activator Yes-associated protein (YAP) associates physically with the full-length ErbB-4 receptor and functionally with the ErbB-4 cytoplasmic fragment in the nucleus. The YAP.ErbB4 complex is mediated by the first WW domain of YAP and the most carboxyl-terminal PPXY motif of ErbB-4. In human tissues, we documented the expression of YAP1 with a single WW domain and YAP2 with two WW domains. It is known that the COOH-terminal fragment of ErbB4 does not have transcriptional activity by itself; however, we show here that in the presence of YAP its transcriptional activity is revealed. There is a difference in the extent of transactivation activity among YAP isoforms: YAP2 is the stronger activator compared with YAP1. This transactivation is abolished by mutations that abrogate the YAP.ErbB4 complex formation. The unphosphorylatable mutation that increases the nuclear localization of YAP increases transcription activity. The COOH-terminal fragment of ErbB-4 and full-length YAP2 overexpressed in cells partially co-localize to the nucleus. Our data indicate that YAP is a potential signaling partner of the full-length ErbB4 receptor at the membrane and of the COOH-terminal fragment of ErbB-4 that translocates to the nucleus to regulate transcription.