SOX2 maintains the stemness of retinoblastoma stem-like cells through Hippo/YAP signaling pathway

Na Zhao, Lei Zhou, Qinkang Lu, Shengzhan Wang, Yanli Sun, Yi Ding, Meng Yun Liu, Hengqian He, Tingyuan Lang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To explore the mechanisms underlying stemness maintenance of retinoblastoma (RB) stem cells (RSCs). Methods: The retinoblastoma stem-like cells (RSLCs) were isolated by single cell cloning in combination of examination of sphere-forming capacities. The stemness of the cells were characterized by the sphere-forming capacity and the expression levels of RSCs markers. Gene manipulation was performed by lentivirus system. Transcriptional regulation was identified by qRT-PCR, luciferase reporter, nuclear run-on and DNA pull-down assay. Spearman analysis was employed for correlation analysis of genes in tumor tissues of RB patients. Results: The isolated RSLCs exhibited enhanced sphere-forming capacity and constantly higher levels of CD44, ABCG2, SOX2 and PAX6, but not CD133. SOX2 positively regulated the stemness of RSLCs. SOX2 directly binds to the promoters of WWTR1 and YAP and transcriptionally activates WWTR1 and YAP. Knockdown of WWTR1 or YAP partially abolished the effect of SOX2 on the stemness of RSLCs. Conclusions: SOX2, as a key deriver, maintains RB stemness by activating Hippo/YAP signaling. Inhibition of Hippo/YAP signaling would be an effective strategy for human RB caused by SOX2 upregulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108887
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Retinoblastoma
  • SOX2
  • Stemness
  • WWTR1
  • YAP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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