bims-instec Biomed News
on Intestinal stem cells and chemoresistance in colon cancer and intestinal regeneration
Issue of 2022‒02‒20
nine papers selected by
Maria-Virginia Giolito

  1. Trends Cancer. 2022 Feb 10. pii: S2405-8033(22)00018-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      The relationship between intestinal stem cells (ISCs) and colorectal cancer (CRC) has been a topic of intense study. Uncovering stem cell dynamics in homeostasis and following acquisition of oncogenic mutations has provided unprecedented insights into CRC initiation, and it is increasingly evident that the microenvironment plays a key role in regulating stem cell fate and functionality. Consequently, imbalances in the signaling between the niche and ISCs perturb homeostasis and promote cancer development. Furthermore, stem cell-like cells drive growth and progression of established CRCs and these cells also critically rely on microenvironmental input. Here, we highlight the importance of stem cell/niche interactions in developing and established CRC and discuss how these can be modulated to develop novel preventive and therapeutic interventions.
    Keywords:  cell competition; colorectal cancer; intestinal stem cells; microenvironment; mutations; stem cell niche
  2. Cell Rep. 2022 02 15. pii: S2211-1247(22)00095-X. [Epub ahead of print]38(7): 110374
      The heterogeneous therapy response observed in colorectal cancer is in part due to cancer stem cells (CSCs) that resist chemotherapeutic insults. The anti-apoptotic protein BCL-XL plays a critical role in protecting CSCs from cell death, where its inhibition with high doses of BH3 mimetics can induce apoptosis. Here, we screen a compound library for synergy with low-dose BCL-XL inhibitor A-1155463 to identify pathways that regulate sensitivity to BCL-XL inhibition and reveal that fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR)4 inhibition effectively sensitizes to A-1155463 both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, we identify a rescue response that is activated upon BCL-XL inhibition and leads to rapid FGF2 secretion and subsequent FGFR4-mediated post-translational stabilization of MCL-1. FGFR4 inhibition prevents MCL-1 upregulation and thereby sensitizes CSCs to BCL-XL inhibition. Altogether, our findings suggest a cell transferable induction of a FGF2/FGFR4 rescue response in CRC that is induced upon BCL-XL inhibition and leads to MCL-1 upregulation.
    Keywords:  BCL-XL; BH3 mimetics; FGFR4; MCL-1; colorectal cancer; resistance; stem cells
  3. Mol Biol Cell. 2022 Feb 16. mbcE21030139
      Membrane trafficking is defined as the vesicular transport of proteins into, out of, and throughout the cell. In intestinal enterocytes, defects in endocytic/recycling pathways result in impaired function and are linked to diseases. However, how these trafficking pathways regulate intestinal tissue homeostasis is poorly understood. Using the Drosophila intestine as an in vivo system, we investigated enterocyte-specific functions for the early endosomal machinery. We focused on Rab21, which regulates specific steps in early endosomal trafficking. Depletion of Rab21 in enterocytes led to abnormalities in intestinal morphology, with deregulated cellular equilibrium associated with a gain in mitotic cells and increased cell death. Increases in apoptosis and Yorkie signaling were responsible for compensatory proliferation and tissue inflammation. Using an RNAi screen, we identified regulators of autophagy and membrane trafficking that phenocopied Rab21 knockdown. We further showed that Rab21 knockdown-induced hyperplasia was rescued by inhibition of epidermal growth factor receptor signaling. Moreover, quantitative proteomics identified proteins affected by Rab21 depletion. Of these, we validated changes in apolipoprotein ApoLpp and the trehalose transporter Tret1-1, indicating roles for enterocyte Rab21 in lipid and carbohydrate homeostasis, respectively. Our data shed light on an important role for early endosomal trafficking, and Rab21, in enterocyte-mediated intestinal epithelium maintenance. [Media: see text] [Media: see text].
  4. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Jan 28. pii: 673. [Epub ahead of print]14(3):
      Despite advances in the curative approach, the survival rate of advanced colorectal cancer (CRC) patients is still poor, which is likely due to the emergence of cancer cell clones resistant to the available therapeutic options. We have already shown that CD44v6-positive CRC stem cells (CR-CSCs) are refractory toward standard anti-tumor therapeutic agents due to the activation of the PI3K pathway together with high HER2 expression levels. Tumor microenvironmental cytokines confer resistance to CR-CSCs against HER2/PI3K targeting by enhancing activation of the MAPK pathway. Here, we show that the CSC compartment, spared by BRAF inhibitor-based targeted therapy, is associated with increased expression levels of CD44v6 and Myc and retains boosted clonogenic activity along with residual tumorigenic potential. Inhibition of Myc transcription, downstream of the MAPK cascade components, and PI3K pathway activity was able to overcome the protective effects of microenvironmental cytokines, affecting the survival and the clonogenic activity of CR-CSCs, regardless of their mutational background. Likewise, the double targeting induced stabilization of mouse tumor avatars. Altogether, these data outline the rationale for dual kinase targeting of CR-CSCs to prevent their adaptive response, which would lead to disease progression.
    Keywords:  anti-tumor drug resistance; cancer stem cells; colorectal cancer; combination therapies
  5. Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022 Feb 14. pii: S2352-345X(22)00034-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Single-cell transcriptomics offer unprecedented resolution of tissue function at the cellular level, yet studies analyzing healthy adult human small intestine and colon are sparse. Here, we present single-cell transcriptomics covering the duodenum, jejunum, ileum, and ascending, transverse, and descending colon from 3 humans.METHODS: 12,590 single epithelial cells from three independently processed organ donors were evaluated for organ-specific lineage biomarkers, differentially regulated genes, receptors, and drug targets. Analyses focused on intrinsic cell properties and capacity for response to extrinsic signals along the gut axis across different humans.
    RESULTS: Cells were assigned to 25 epithelial lineage clusters. Multiple accepted intestinal stem cell (ISC) markers do not specifically mark all human ISCs. Lysozyme expression is not unique to human Paneth cells, and Paneth cells lack expression of expected niche-factors. BEST4+ cells express NPY and show maturational differences between small intestine and colon. Tuft cells possess a broad ability to interact with the innate and adaptive immune systems through previously unreported receptors. Some classes of mucins, hormones, cell-junction, and nutrient absorption genes show unappreciated regional expression differences across lineages. Differential expression of receptors and drug targets across lineages reveals biological variation and potential for variegated responses.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our study identifies novel lineage marker genes; covers regional differences; shows important differences between mouse and human gut epithelium; and reveals insight into how the epithelium responds to the environment and drugs. This comprehensive cell atlas of the healthy adult human intestinal epithelium resolves likely functional differences across anatomical regions along the gastrointestinal tract and advances our understanding of human intestinal physiology.
    Keywords:  BEST4; Cell Atlas; Intestinal Stem Cell; Paneth cell; scRNAseq
  6. Cell Rep. 2022 02 15. pii: S2211-1247(22)00100-0. [Epub ahead of print]38(7): 110379
      Pluripotent-stem-cell-derived human intestinal organoids (HIOs) model some aspects of intestinal development and disease, but current culture methods do not fully recapitulate the diverse cell types and complex organization of the human intestine and are reliant on 3D extracellular matrix or hydrogel systems, which limit experimental control and translational potential for regenerative medicine. We describe suspension culture as a simple, low-maintenance method for culturing HIOs and for promoting in vitro differentiation of an organized serosal mesothelial layer that is similar to primary human intestinal serosal mesothelium based on single-cell RNA sequencing and histological analysis. Functionally, HIO serosal mesothelium has the capacity to differentiate into smooth-muscle-like cells and exhibits fibrinolytic activity. An inhibitor screen identifies Hedgehog and WNT signaling as regulators of human serosal mesothelial differentiation. Collectively, suspension HIOs represent a three-dimensional model to study the human serosal mesothelium.
    Keywords:  human pluripotent stem cell; intestinal organoid; intestine; organoid; serosal mesothelium; suspension culture
  7. Cell Death Discov. 2022 Feb 15. 8(1): 66
      Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) treatment has been proposed as a potentially innovative therapeutic tool in the biomedical field, notably for cancer due to its proposed toxic selectivity on cancer cells versus healthy cells. In the present study, we addressed the relevance of three-dimensional organoid technology to investigate the biological effects of CAP on normal epithelial stem cells and tumor cells isolated from mouse small intestine. CAP treatment exerted dose-dependent cytotoxicity on normal organoids and induced major transcriptomic changes associated with the global response to oxidative stress, fetal-like regeneration reprogramming, and apoptosis-mediated cell death. Moreover, we explored the potential selectivity of CAP on tumor-like Apc-deficient versus normal organoids in the same genetic background. Unexpectedly, tumor organoids exhibited higher resistance to CAP treatment, correlating with higher antioxidant activity at baseline as compared to normal organoids. This pilot study suggests that the ex vivo culture system could be a relevant alternative model to further investigate translational medical applications of CAP technology.
  8. Nat Methods. 2022 Feb 14.
      Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) approaches have transformed our ability to resolve cellular properties across systems, but are currently tailored toward large cell inputs (>1,000 cells). This renders them inefficient and costly when processing small, individual tissue samples, a problem that tends to be resolved by loading bulk samples, yielding confounded mosaic cell population read-outs. Here, we developed a deterministic, mRNA-capture bead and cell co-encapsulation dropleting system, DisCo, aimed at processing low-input samples (<500 cells). We demonstrate that DisCo enables precise particle and cell positioning and droplet sorting control through combined machine-vision and multilayer microfluidics, enabling continuous processing of low-input single-cell suspensions at high capture efficiency (>70%) and at speeds up to 350 cells per hour. To underscore DisCo's unique capabilities, we analyzed 31 individual intestinal organoids at varying developmental stages. This revealed extensive organoid heterogeneity, identifying distinct subtypes including a regenerative fetal-like Ly6a+ stem cell population that persists as symmetrical cysts, or spheroids, even under differentiation conditions, and an uncharacterized 'gobloid' subtype consisting predominantly of precursor and mature (Muc2+) goblet cells. To complement this dataset and to demonstrate DisCo's capacity to process low-input, in vivo-derived tissues, we also analyzed individual mouse intestinal crypts. This revealed the existence of crypts with a compositional similarity to spheroids, which consisted predominantly of regenerative stem cells, suggesting the existence of regenerating crypts in the homeostatic intestine. These findings demonstrate the unique power of DisCo in providing high-resolution snapshots of cellular heterogeneity in small, individual tissues.
  9. Cell Death Dis. 2022 02 17. 13(2): 159
      Dormant cancer cells drive recurrence and drug resistance, which lead to poor prognosis in colorectal cancer (CRC). The mechanisms that regulate the entry of cancer cells into dormancy remain to be extensively studied. Nanog is a master transcription factor to maintain the self-renewal and pluripotency of stem cells. Since dormant cancer cells are similar to quiescent cancer stem cells, the correlation between dormant state and Nanog in CRC is worth to be explored. Serum deprivation is a common method to establish experimental cellular dormancy model. Here, we verified that serum deprivation-induced CRC cells to enter a cellular dormancy state, characterized by no proliferation, no death, no senescence, resistance to chemotherapy, high expression of dormant markers, metabolic suppression, and recovery to active status. Interestingly, we further identified that Nanog was upregulated in dormant CRC cells. Nanog knockdown could destroy the dormant state of serum-deprived CRC cells while Nanog overexpression could induce dormancy in CRC cells. Mechanistically, Nanog was regulated through a fatty acid oxidation (FAO)/ATP citrate lyase (ACLY)-dependent pathway. FAO increased ACLY expression to promote the synthesis of acetyl-CoA, which was transferred by P300 to accelerate H3K27 acetylation of Nanog promoter. Then, Nanog upregulation increased the transcription of P21 and P27, which promoted the dormancy of CRC cells. Our findings revealed that Nanog could induce cellular dormancy in CRC cells and unlocked a specific mechanism to govern the process.