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1 Janelia Publications

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    07/23/21 | YAP1 nuclear efflux and transcriptional reprograming follow membrane diminution upon VSV-G-induced cell fusion.
    Feliciano D, Ott CM, Espinosa-Medina I, Weigel AV, Benedetti L, Milano KM, Tang Z, Lee T, Kliman HJ, Guller SM, Lippincott-Schwartz J
    Nature Communications. 2021 Jul 23;12(1):4502. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24708-2

    Cells in many tissues, such as bone, muscle, and placenta, fuse into syncytia to acquire new functions and transcriptional programs. While it is known that fused cells are specialized, it is unclear whether cell-fusion itself contributes to programmatic-changes that generate the new cellular state. Here, we address this by employing a fusogen-mediated, cell-fusion system to create syncytia from undifferentiated cells. RNA-Seq analysis reveals VSV-G-induced cell fusion precedes transcriptional changes. To gain mechanistic insights, we measure the plasma membrane surface area after cell-fusion and observe it diminishes through increases in endocytosis. Consequently, glucose transporters internalize, and cytoplasmic glucose and ATP transiently decrease. This reduced energetic state activates AMPK, which inhibits YAP1, causing transcriptional-reprogramming and cell-cycle arrest. Impairing either endocytosis or AMPK activity prevents YAP1 inhibition and cell-cycle arrest after fusion. Together, these data demonstrate plasma membrane diminishment upon cell-fusion causes transient nutrient stress that may promote transcriptional-reprogramming independent from extrinsic cues.

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