Francesca Zanconato

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Cells perceive their microenvironment not only through soluble signals but also through physical and mechanical cues, such as extracellular matrix (ECM) stiffness or confined adhesiveness. By mechanotransduction systems, cells translate these stimuli into biochemical signals controlling multiple aspects of cell behaviour, including growth, differentiation(More)
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are proposed to drive tumor initiation and progression. Yet, our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie CSC properties is limited. Here we show that the activity of TAZ, a transducer of the Hippo pathway, is required to sustain self-renewal and tumor-initiation capacities in breast CSCs. TAZ protein(More)
Wnt growth factors are fundamental regulators of cell fate, but how the Wnt signal is translated into biological responses is incompletely understood. Here, we report that TAZ, a biologically potent transcriptional coactivator, serves as a downstream element of the Wnt/β-catenin cascade. This function of TAZ is independent from its well-established role as(More)
YAP/TAZ are nuclear effectors of the Hippo pathway regulating organ growth and tumorigenesis. Yet, their function as transcriptional regulators remains underinvestigated. By ChIP-seq analyses in breast cancer cells, we discovered that the YAP/TAZ transcriptional response is pervasively mediated by a dual element: TEAD factors, through which YAP/TAZ bind to(More)
YAP and TAZ are highly related transcriptional regulators pervasively activated in human malignancies. Recent work indicates that, remarkably, YAP/TAZ are essential for cancer initiation or growth of most solid tumors. Their activation induces cancer stem cell attributes, proliferation, chemoresistance, and metastasis. YAP/TAZ are sensors of the structural(More)
The molecular determinants of malignant cell behaviours in breast cancer remain only partially understood. Here we show that SHARP1 (also known as BHLHE41 or DEC2) is a crucial regulator of the invasive and metastatic phenotype in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer. SHARP1 is regulated by the p63(More)
Increased glucose metabolism and reprogramming toward aerobic glycolysis are a hallmark of cancer cells, meeting their metabolic needs for sustained cell proliferation. Metabolic reprogramming is usually considered as a downstream consequence of tumor development and oncogene activation; growing evidence indicates, however, that metabolism on its turn can(More)
The biology and regulation of YAP and TAZ, two closely related transcriptional regulators, are receiving increasing attention owing to their fundamental roles in organ growth, tissue repair and cancer. In particular, the widespread activation of YAP/TAZ in carcinomas, and the crucial role of YAP/TAZ activation for many 'hallmarks' of cancer are indicating(More)
How the behaviour of somatic stem cells (SCs) is influenced by mechanical signals remains a black-box in cell biology. Here we show that YAP/TAZ regulation by cell shape and rigidity of the extracellular matrix (ECM) dictates a pivotal SC decision: to remain undifferentiated and grow, or to activate a terminal differentiation programme. Notably,(More)
The Spemann organizer stands out from other signaling centers of the embryo because of its broad patterning effects. It defines development along the anteroposterior and dorsoventral axes of the vertebrate body, mainly by secreting antagonists of growth factors. Qualitative models proposed more than a decade ago explain the organizer's region-specific(More)