A calpain-6/YAP axis in sarcoma stem cells that drives the outgrowth of tumors and metastases

Joëlle Tchicaya-Bouanga, Yu-Jen Hung, Jean-Marc Schwartz, Diane Ji Yun Yoon, Emilie Chotard, Clarice Marty, Guillaume Anthony Odri, Gonzague de Pinieux, Martine Cohen-Solal, Dominique Modrowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sarcomas include cancer stem cells, but how these cells contribute to local and metastatic relapse is largely unknown. We previously showed the pro-tumor functions of calpain-6 in sarcoma stem cells. Here, we use an osteosarcoma cell model, osteosarcoma tissues and transcriptomic data from human tumors to study gene patterns associated with calpain-6 expression or suppression. Calpain-6 modulates the expression of Hippo pathway genes and stabilizes the hippo effector YAP. It also modulates the vesicular trafficking of β-catenin degradation complexes. Calpain-6 expression is associated with genes of the G2M phase of the cell cycle, supports G2M-related YAP activities and up-regulated genes controlling mitosis in sarcoma stem cells and tissues. In mouse models of bone sarcoma, most tumor cells expressed calpain-6 during the early steps of tumor out-growth. YAP inhibition prevented the neoformation of primary tumors and metastases but had no effect on already developed tumors. It could even accelerate lung metastasis associated with large bone tumors by affecting tumor-associated inflammation in the host tissues. Our results highlight a specific mechanism involving YAP transcriptional activity in cancer stem cells that is crucial during the early steps of tumor and metastasis outgrowth and that could be targeted to prevent sarcoma relapse.

Original languageEnglish
Article number819
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2022


  • Animals
  • Bone Neoplasms/genetics
  • Calpain/metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/metabolism
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells/metabolism
  • Osteosarcoma/genetics
  • Sarcoma/genetics
  • YAP-Signaling Proteins/metabolism
  • beta Catenin/metabolism


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