Signaling pathways in mammalian preimplantation development: Linking cellular phenotypes to lineage decisions.
Cell identity is specified in the early mammalian embryo by the generation of precursors for two cell lineages: the pluripotent inner cell mass and differentiating trophectoderm. Here we identify Angiomotin as a key regulator of this process. We show that the loss of Angiomotin, together with Angiomotin-like 2, leads to differentiation of inner cell mass cells and compromised peri-implantation development. We show that Angiomotin regulates localization of Yap, and Yap-binding motifs are required for full activity of Angiomotin. Importantly, we also show that Angiomotin function can compensate for the absence of Lats1/2 kinases, indicating the ability of Angiomotin to bypass the classical Hippo pathway for Yap regulation. In polarized outside cells, Angiomotin localizes apically, pointing to the importance of cell polarity in regulating Yap to promote differentiation. We propose that both Hippo pathway-dependent and Hippo pathway-independent mechanisms regulate Yap localization to set apart pluripotent and differentiated lineages in the pre-implantation mouse embryo.