HYAL-2-WWOX-SMAD4 signaling in cell death and anticancer response

Li Jin Hsu, Ming Fu Chiang, Chun I. Sze, Wan Pei Su, Ye Vone Yap, I. Ting Lee, Hsiang Ling Kuo, Nan Shan Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Hyaluronidase HYAL-2 is a membrane-anchored protein and also localizes, in part, in the lysosome. Recent study from animal models revealed that both HYAL-1 and HYAL-2 are essential for the metabolism of hyaluronan (HA). Hyal-2 deficiency is associated with chronic thrombotic microangiopathy with hemolytic anemia in mice due to over accumulation of high molecular size HA. HYAL-2 is essential for platelet generation. Membrane HYAL-2 degrades HA bound by co-receptor CD44. Also, in a non-canonical signal pathway, HYAL-2 serves as a receptor for transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) to signal with downstream tumor suppressors WWOX and SMAD4 to control gene transcription. When SMAD4 responsive element is overly driven by the HYAL-2-WWOX-SMAD4 signaling complex, cell death occurs. When rats are subjected to traumatic brain injury, over accumulation of a HYAL-2-WWOX complex occurs in the nucleus to cause neuronal death. HA induces the signaling of HYAL-2-WWOX-SMAD4 and relocation of the signaling complex to the nucleus. If the signaling complex is overexpressed, bubbling cell death occurs in WWOX-expressing cells. In addition, a small synthetic peptide Zfra (zinc finger-like protein that regulates apoptosis) binds membrane HYAL-2 of non-T/non-B spleen HYAL-2 + CD3 - CD19 - Z lymphocytes and activates the cells to generate memory anticancer response against many types of cancer cells in vivo. Whether the HYAL-2-WWOX-SMAD4 signaling complex is involved is discussed. In this review and opinion article, we have updated the current knowledge of HA, HYAL-2 and WWOX, HYAL-2-WWOX-SMAD4 signaling, bubbling cell death, and Z cell activation for memory anticancer response.

Original languageEnglish
Article number141
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Issue numberDEC
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 6

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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