WW domain-containing transcription regulator 1 (WWTR1, referred to here as TAZ) and Yes-associated protein (YAP, also known as YAP1) are transcriptional co-activators traditionally studied together as a part of the Hippo pathway, and are best known for their roles in stem cell proliferation and differentiation. Despite their similarities, TAZ and YAP can exert divergent cellular effects by differentially interacting with other signaling pathways that regulate stem cell maintenance or differentiation. In this study, we show in mouse neural stem and progenitor cells (NPCs) that TAZ regulates astrocytic differentiation and maturation, and that TAZ mediates some, but not all, of the effects of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling on astrocytic development. By contrast, both TAZ and YAP mediate the effects on NPC fate of β1-integrin (ITGB1) and integrin-linked kinase signaling, and these effects are dependent on extracellular matrix cues. These findings demonstrate that TAZ and YAP perform divergent functions in the regulation of astrocyte differentiation, where YAP regulates cell cycle states of astrocytic progenitors and TAZ regulates differentiation and maturation from astrocytic progenitors into astrocytes.

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