bims-instec Biomed News
on Intestinal stem cells and chemoresistance in colon cancer and intestinal regeneration
Issue of 2023‒04‒16
fifteen papers selected by
Maria-Virginia Giolito
Free University of Brussels

  1. Cells. 2023 Mar 31. pii: 1059. [Epub ahead of print]12(7):
      Primary cilia are sensory antennae located at the cell surface which mediate a variety of extracellular signals involved in development, tissue homeostasis, stem cells and cancer. Primary cilia are found in an extensive array of vertebrae cells but can only be generated when cells become quiescent. The small intestinal epithelium is a rapidly self-renewing tissue organized into a functional unit called the crypt-villus axis, containing progenitor and differentiated cells, respectively. Terminally differentiated villus cells are notoriously devoid of primary cilia. We sought to determine if intestinal crypts contain a quiescent cell population that could be identified by the presence of primary cilia. Here we show that primary cilia are detected in a subset of cells located deep in the crypts slightly above a Paneth cell population. Using a normal epithelial proliferative crypt cell model, we show that primary cilia assembly and activity correlate with a quiescent state. These results provide further evidence for the existence of a quiescent cell population in the human small intestine and suggest the potential for new modes of regulation in stem cell dynamics.
    Keywords:  BMI1; GLI; HIEC-6 cell line; Hedgehog pathway; intestinal epithelial cells; patched; primary cilium; stem cells; tubulin
  2. FEBS Open Bio. 2023 Apr 14.
      5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is widely used for colorectal cancer (CRC) treatment; however, continuous treatment of CRC cells with 5-FU can result in acquired resistance, and the underlying mechanism of 5-FU resistance remains unclear. We previously established an acquired 5-FU-resistant CRC cell line, HCT116RF10 , and examined its biological features and 5-FU resistance mechanisms. In this study, we evaluated the 5-FU sensitivity and cellular respiration dependency of HCT116RF10 cells and parental HCT116 cells under conditions of high- and low-glucose concentrations. Both HCT116RF10 and parental HCT116 cells were more sensitive to 5-FU under low-glucose conditions compared to high-glucose conditions. Interestingly, HCT116RF10 and parental HCT116 cells exhibited altered cellular respiration dependence for glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration under high- and low-glucose conditions. Additionally, HCT116RF10 cells showed a markedly decreased ATP production rate compared with HCT116 cells under both high- and low-glucose conditions. Importantly, glucose restriction significantly reduced the ATP production rate for both glycolysis and mitochondrial respiration in HCT116RF10 cells compared with HCT116 cells. The ATP production rates in HCT116RF10 and HCT116 cells were reduced by approximately 64% and 23% respectively under glucose restriction, suggesting that glucose restriction may be effective at enhancing 5-FU chemotherapy. Overall, these findings shed light on 5-FU resistance mechanisms, which may lead to improvements in anticancer treatment strategies.
    Keywords:  5-fluorouracil; glucose restriction; HCT116; cellular respiration; colorectal cancer cell; drug resistance
  3. Nat Commun. 2023 Apr 11. 14(1): 2042
      Colonocyte metabolism shapes the microbiome. Metabolites are the main mediators of information exchange between intestine and microbial communities. Arachidonic acid (AA) is an essential polyunsaturated fatty acid and its role in colorectal cancer (CRC) remains unexplored. In this study, we show that AA feeding promotes tumor growth in AOM/DSS and intestinal specific Apc-/- mice via modulating the intestinal microecology of increased gram-negative bacteria. Delta-5 desaturase (FADS1), a rate-limiting enzyme, is upregulated in CRC and effectively mediates AA synthesis. Functionally, FADS1 regulates CRC tumor growth via high AA microenvironment-induced enriched gram-negative microbes. Elimination of gram-negative microbe abolishes FADS1 effect. Mechanistically, gram-negative microbes activate TLR4/MYD88 pathway in CRC cells that contributes FADS1-AA axis to metabolize to prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Cumulatively, we report a potential cancer-promoting mechanism of FADS1-AA axis in CRC that converts raising synthesized AA to PGE2 via modulating the intestinal microecology of gram-negative.
  4. Cell Biosci. 2023 Apr 11. 13(1): 72
      BACKGROUND: Tumor resistance is a frequent cause of therapy failure and remains a major challenge for the long-term management of colorectal cancer (CRC). The aim of this study was to determine the implication of the tight junctional protein claudin 1 (CLDN1) in the acquired resistance to chemotherapy.METHODS: Immunohistochemistry was used to determine CLDN1 expression in post-chemotherapy liver metastases from 58 CRC patients. The effects of oxaliplatin on membrane CLDN1 expression were evaluated by flow cytometry, immunofluorescence and western blotting experiments in vitro and in vivo. Phosphoproteome analyses, proximity ligation and luciferase reporter assays were used to unravel the mechanism of CLDN1 induction. RNAseq experiments were performed on oxaliplatin-resistant cell lines to investigate the role of CLDN1 in chemoresistance. The "one-two punch" sequential combination of oxaliplatin followed by an anti-CLDN1 antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) was tested in both CRC cell lines and murine models.
    RESULTS: We found a significant correlation between CLDN1 expression level and histologic response to chemotherapy, CLDN1 expression being the highest in resistant metastatic residual cells of patients showing minor responses. Moreover, in both murine xenograft model and CRC cell lines, CLDN1 expression was upregulated after exposure to conventional chemotherapies used in CRC treatment. CLDN1 overexpression was, at least in part, functionally related to the activation of the MAPKp38/GSK3β/Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Overexpression of CLDN1 was also observed in oxaliplatin-resistant CRC cell lines and was associated with resistance to apoptosis, suggesting an anti-apoptotic role for CLDN1. Finally, we demonstrated that the sequential treatment with oxaliplatin followed by an anti-CLDN1 ADC displayed a synergistic effect in vitro and in in vivo.
    CONCLUSION: Our study identifies CLDN1 as a new biomarker of acquired resistance to chemotherapy in CRC patients and suggests that a "one-two punch" approach targeting chemotherapy-induced CLDN1 expression may represent a therapeutic opportunity to circumvent resistance and to improve the outcome of patients with advanced CRC.
    Keywords:  ADC; Biomarker; CLDN1; Chemotherapy; Colorectal cancer; Resistance; “One-two punch”
  5. Cancer Cell. 2023 Mar 29. pii: S1535-6108(23)00086-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Senescence induces key phenotypic changes that can modulate immune responses. Four recent publications in Cancer Discovery, Nature, and Nature Cancer highlight how senescent cells (aged normal or chemotherapy-treated cells) express antigen presentation machinery, present antigens, and interact with T cells and dendritic cells to robustly activate the immune system and promote anti-tumor immunity.
  6. Sci Adv. 2023 Apr 14. 9(15): eade3422
      Metastasis is the main cause of death in many cancers including colorectal cancer (CRC); however, the underlying mechanisms responsible for metastatic progression remain largely unknown. We found that nuclear TYRO3 receptor tyrosine kinase is a strong predictor of poor overall survival in patients with CRC. The metastasis-promoting function of nuclear TYRO3 requires its kinase activity and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2)-mediated cleavage but is independent of ligand binding. Using proteomic analysis, we identified bromodomain-containing protein 3 (BRD3), an acetyl-lysine reading epigenetic regulator, as one of nuclear TYRO3's substrates. Chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing data reveal that TYRO3-phosphorylated BRD3 regulates genes involved in anti-apoptosis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Inhibition of MMP-2 or BRD3 activity by selective inhibitors abrogates nuclear TYRO3-induced drug resistance and metastasis in organoid culture and in orthotopic mouse models. These data demonstrate that MMP-2/TYRO3/BRD3 axis promotes the metastasis of CRC, and blocking this signaling cascade is a promising approach to ameliorate CRC malignancy.
  7. Microbiol Spectr. 2023 Apr 12. e0506622
      The gut microbiome is associated with survival in colorectal cancer. Single organisms have been identified as markers of poor prognosis. However, in situ imaging of tumors demonstrate a polymicrobial tumor-associated community. To understand the role of these polymicrobial communities in survival, we conducted a nested case-control study in late-stage cancer patients undergoing resection for primary adenocarcinoma. The microbiome of paired tumor and adjacent normal tissue samples was profiled using 16S rRNA sequencing. We found a consistent difference in the microbiome between paired tumor and adjacent tissue, despite strong individual microbial identities. Furthermore, a larger difference between normal and tumor tissue was associated with prognosis: patients with shorter survival had a larger difference between normal and tumor tissue. Within the tumor tissue, we identified a 39-member community statistic associated with survival; for every log2-fold increase in this value, an individual's odds of survival increased by 20% (odds ratio survival 1.20; 95% confidence interval = 1.04 to 1.33). Our results suggest that a polymicrobial tumor-specific microbiome is associated with survival in late-stage colorectal cancer patients. IMPORTANCE Microbiome studies in colorectal cancer (CRC) have primarily focused on the role of single organisms in cancer progression. Recent work has identified specific organisms throughout the intestinal tract, which may affect survival; however, the results are inconsistent. We found differences between the tumor microbiome and the microbiome of the rest of the intestine in patients, and the magnitude of this difference was associated with survival, or, the more like a healthy gut a tumor looked, the better a patient's prognosis. Our results suggest that future microbiome-based interventions to affect survival in CRC will need to target the tumor community.
    Keywords:  16S rRNA sequening; cancer survival; colorectal cancer; microbiome; tumor microbiome
  8. J Vis Exp. 2023 Mar 24.
      The murine small intestine, or colon mesenchyme, is highly heterogenous, containing distinct cell types including blood and lymphatic endothelium, nerves, fibroblasts, myofibroblasts, smooth muscle cells, immune cells, and the recently identified cell type, telocytes. Telocytes are unique mesenchymal cells with long cytoplasmic processes, reaching a distance of tens to hundreds of microns from the cell body. Telocytes have recently emerged as an important intestinal stem cell niche component, providing Wnt proteins that are essential for stem and progenitor cell proliferation. Although protocols on how to isolate mesenchyme from the mouse intestine are available, it is not clear whether these procedures allow the efficient isolation of telocytes. Isolating telocytes efficiently requires special protocol adjustments that would allow dissociation of the strong cell-cell contact between telocytes and neighboring cells without affecting their viability. Here, available intestinal mesenchyme isolation protocols were adjusted to support the successful isolation and culture of mesenchyme containing a relatively high yield of viable single-cell telocytes. The obtained single-cell suspension can be analyzed by several techniques, such as immunostaining, cell sorting, imaging, and mRNA experiments. This protocol yields mesenchyme with sufficiently conserved antigenic and functional properties of telocytes, and can be used for several applications. For example, they can be used for co-culture with mouse- or human-derived organoids to support organoid growth with no growth factor supplementation, to better reflect the situation in the original tissue.
  9. Nat Commun. 2023 Apr 13. 14(1): 2102
      Histopathologic assessment is indispensable for diagnosing colorectal cancer (CRC). However, manual evaluation of the diseased tissues under the microscope cannot reliably inform patient prognosis or genomic variations crucial for treatment selections. To address these challenges, we develop the Multi-omics Multi-cohort Assessment (MOMA) platform, an explainable machine learning approach, to systematically identify and interpret the relationship between patients' histologic patterns, multi-omics, and clinical profiles in three large patient cohorts (n = 1888). MOMA successfully predicts the overall survival, disease-free survival (log-rank test P-value<0.05), and copy number alterations of CRC patients. In addition, our approaches identify interpretable pathology patterns predictive of gene expression profiles, microsatellite instability status, and clinically actionable genetic alterations. We show that MOMA models are generalizable to multiple patient populations with different demographic compositions and pathology images collected from distinctive digitization methods. Our machine learning approaches provide clinically actionable predictions that could inform treatments for colorectal cancer patients.
  10. Clin Cancer Res. 2023 Apr 11. pii: CCR-22-3894. [Epub ahead of print]
      PURPOSE: Encorafenib plus cetuximab is an effective therapeutic option in chemorefractory BRAFV600E mCRC. However, there is a need to improve the efficacy of this molecular targeted therapy and evaluate regimens suitable for untreated BRAFV600E mCRC patients.EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We performed a series of in vivo studies using BRAFV600EmCRC tumor xenografts. Mice were randomized to receive: 5-fluoruracil, irinotecan or oxaliplatin regimens (FOLFIRI or FOLFOX), encorafenib plus cetuximab (E+C) or the combination. Treatments included long term treatment until progression, with de-escalation strategies replicating maintenance treatments. Transcriptomic changes after progression on cytotoxic chemotherapy or targeted therapy were assessed.
    RESULTS: Antitumor activity of either FOLFIRI or E+C was better in first-line as compared to second-line, with partial cross-resistance seen between cytotoxic regimen and targeted therapy with average 62% loss of efficacy for FOLFIRI after E+C and 45% loss of efficacy of E+C after FOLFIRI (p<0.001 for both). FOLFIRI treated models had upregulation of EMT and MAPK pathway activation, where E+C treated models had suppressed MAPK signaling. In contrast, with chemotherapy with E+C, EMT and MAPK signaling remained suppressed. FOLFOX or FOLFIRI, each in combination with E+C, were the most active first-line treatments as compared to E+C or to chemotherapy alone. Further, FOLFOX in combination with E+C as first-line induction therapy, followed by E+C +/- 5-FU as maintenance therapy, was the most effective strategy for long term disease control.
    CONCLUSIONS: These results support the combination of cytotoxic chemotherapy and molecular targeted therapy as a promising therapeutic approach in the first-line treatment of BRAFV600E mCRC.
  11. Cell Commun Signal. 2023 04 12. 21(1): 75
      Serotonin, also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), is a key messenger that mediates several central and peripheral functions in the human body. Emerging evidence indicates that serotonin is critical in tumorigenesis, but its role in colorectal cancer remains elusive. Herein, we report that serotonin transporter (SERT) transports serotonin into colorectal cancer cells, enhancing Yes-associated protein (YAP) expression and promoting in vitro and in vivo colon cancer cell growth. Once within the cells, transglutaminase 2 (TG2) mediates RhoA serotonylated and activates RhoA-ROCK1/2 signalling to upregulate YAP expression in SW480 and SW1116 cells. Blocking SERT with citalopram reversed the serotonin-induced YAP expression and cell proliferation, inhibiting serotonin's effects on tumour formation in mice. Moreover, SERT expression was correlated with YAP in pathological human colorectal cancer samples and the levels of 5-HT were highly significant in the serum of patients with colorectal cancer. Together, our findings suggested that serotonin enters cells via SERT to activate RhoA/ROCK/YAP signalling to promote colon cancer carcinogenesis. Consequently, targeting serotonin-SERT-YAP axis may be a potential therapeutic strategy for colorectal cancer. Video abstract.
    Keywords:  Colorectal cancer; Serotonin; Serotonin transporter; Serotonylation; YAP
  12. Cell. 2023 Apr 13. pii: S0092-8674(23)00282-9. [Epub ahead of print]186(8): 1515-1516
  13. Trends Mol Med. 2023 Apr 10. pii: S1471-4914(23)00066-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Wnt signaling plays numerous functions in cancer, from primary transformation and tumor growth to metastasis. In addition to these cancer cell-intrinsic functions, Wnt signaling emerges to critically control cross-communication among cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment (TME). Here, we summarize the evidence that not only multiple cancer cell types, but also cells constituting the TME 'speak the Wnt language'. Fibroblasts, macrophages, endothelia, and lymphocytes all use the Wnt language to convey messages to and from cancer cells and among themselves; these messages are important for tumor progression and fate. Decoding this language will advance our understanding of tumor biology and unveil novel therapeutic avenues.
    Keywords:  Wnt; drug discovery; fibroblasts; immune cells; tumor microenvironment
  14. Cell. 2023 Apr 13. pii: S0092-8674(23)00221-0. [Epub ahead of print]186(8): 1564-1579
      Most cancer-associated deaths occur due to metastasis, yet our understanding of metastasis as an evolving, heterogeneous, systemic disease and of how to effectively treat it is still emerging. Metastasis requires the acquisition of a succession of traits to disseminate, variably enter and exit dormancy, and colonize distant organs. The success of these events is driven by clonal selection, the potential of metastatic cells to dynamically transition into distinct states, and their ability to co-opt the immune environment. Here, we review the main principles of metastasis and highlight emerging opportunities to develop more effective therapies for metastatic cancer.