Research ArticleNeuroscience

Niche-derived laminin-511 promotes midbrain dopaminergic neuron survival and differentiation through YAP

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Sci. Signal.  22 Aug 2017:
Vol. 10, Issue 493, eaal4165
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aal4165

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YAP supports dopaminergic neurons

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder marked by progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons and motor control. Various factors promote or inhibit neuronal survival. Zhang et al. found that a prosurvival signal was mediated by the transcription cofactor YAP. YAP was activated in midbrain dopaminergic neurons in culture and in mice through an interaction between an integrin and the extracellular matrix protein laminin-511. YAP then transcriptionally activated dopaminergic neuron differentiation factors and a microRNA that decreased the synthesis of the apoptotic protein PTEN. The findings uncover a new role for YAP in neurons and a pathway that might be explored for the purpose of promoting dopaminergic neuron survival in PD patients.