Exosomal Wnt-induced dedifferentiation of colorectal cancer cells contributes to chemotherapy resistance.
ABSTRACT: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are inherently resistant to chemotherapy, and CSCs in chemotherapy-failed recurrent tumors are enriched; however, the cellular origin of chemotherapy-induced CSC enrichment remains unclear. Communication with stromal fibroblasts may induce cancer cell dedifferentiation into CSCs through secreted factors. We recently demonstrated that fibroblast-derived exosomes promote chemoresistance in colorectal cancer (CRC). Here, we report that fibroblasts confer CRC chemoresistance via exosome-induced reprogramming (dedifferentiation) of bulk CRC cells to phenotypic and functional CSCs. At the molecular level, we provided evidence that the major reprogramming regulators in fibroblast-exosomes are Wnts. Exosomal Wnts were found to increase Wnt activity and drug resistance in differentiated CRC cells, and inhibiting Wnt release diminished this effect in vitro and in vivo. Together, our results indicate that exosomal Wnts derived from fibroblasts could induce the dedifferentiation of cancer cells to promote chemoresistance in CRC, and suggest that interfering with exosomal Wnt signaling may help to improve chemosensitivity and the therapeutic window.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are key stroma cells that play dominant roles in tumor progression. However, the CAFs-derived molecular determinants that regulate colorectal cancer (CRC) metastasis and chemoresistance have not been fully characterized.<h4>Methods</h4>CAFs and NFs were obtained from fresh CRC and adjacent normal tissues. Exosomes were isolated from conditioned medium and serum of CRC patients using ultracentrifugation method and ExoQuick Exosome Precipitation Solution kit, and characterized by transmission electronic microscopy, nanosight and western blot. MicroRNA microarray was employed to identify differentially expressed miRNAs in exosomes secreted by CAFs or NFs. The internalization of exosomes, transfer of miR-92a-3p was observed by immunofluorescence. Boyden chamber migration and invasion, cell counting kit-8, flow cytometry, plate colony formation, sphere formation assays, tail vein injection and primary colon cancer liver metastasis assays were employed to explore the effect of NFs, CAFs and exosomes secreted by them on epithelial-mesenchymal transition, stemness, metastasis and chemotherapy resistance of CRC. Luciferase report assay, real-time qPCR, western blot, immunofluorescence, and immunohistochemistry staining were employed to explore the regulation of CRC metastasis and chemotherapy resistance by miR-92a-3p, FBXW7 and MOAP1.<h4>Results</h4>CAFs promote the stemness, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), metastasis and chemotherapy resistance of CRC cells. Importantly, CAFs exert their roles by directly transferring exosomes to CRC cells, leading to a significant increase of miR-92a-3p level in CRC cells. Mechanically, increased expression of miR-92a-3p activates Wnt/?-catenin pathway and inhibits mitochondrial apoptosis by directly inhibiting FBXW7 and MOAP1, contributing to cell stemness, EMT, metastasis and 5-FU/L-OHP resistance in CRC. Clinically, miR-92a-3p expression is significantly increased in CRC tissues and negatively correlated with the levels of FBXW7 and MOAP1 in CRC specimens, and high expression of exosomal miR-92a-3p in serum was highly linked with metastasis and chemotherapy resistance in CRC patients.<h4>Conclusions</h4>CAFs secreted exosomes promote metastasis and chemotherapy resistance of CRC. Inhibiting exosomal miR-92a-3p provides an alternative modality for the prediction and treatment of metastasis and chemotherapy resistance in CRC.
Project description:Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are involved in the pathology of various tumors, including colorectal cancer (CRC). The crosstalk between carcinoma- associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and cancer cells in the tumor microenvironment promotes tumor development and confers chemoresistance. In this study, we further investigated the underlying tumor-promoting roles of CAFs and the molecular mediators involved in these processes. <b>Methods:</b> The AOM/DSS-induced colitis-associated cancer (CAC) mouse model was established, and RNA sequencing was performed. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) sequences were used to knock down H19. Cell apoptosis was measured by flow cytometry. SW480 cells with H19 stably knocked down were used to establish a xenograft model. The indicated protein levels in xenograft tumor tissues were confirmed by immunohistochemistry assay, and cell apoptosis was analyzed by TUNEL apoptosis assay. RNA-FISH and immunofluorescence assays were performed to assess the expression of H19 in tumor stroma and cancer nests. The AldeRed ALDH detection assay was performed to detect intracellular aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) enzyme activity. Isolated exosomes were identified by transmission electron microscopy, nanoparticle tracking and Western blotting. <b>Results:</b> H19 was highly expressed in the tumor tissues of CAC mice compared with the expression in normal colon tissues. The up-regulation of H19 was also confirmed in CRC patient samples at different tumor node metastasis (TNM) stages. Moreover, H19 was associated with the stemness of colorectal cancer stem cells (CSCs) in CRC specimens. H19 promoted the stemness of CSCs and increased the frequency of tumor-initiating cells. RNA-FISH showed higher expression of H19 in tumor stroma than in cancer nests. Of note, H19 was enriched in CAF-derived conditioned medium and exosomes, which in turn promoted the stemness of CSCs and the chemoresistance of CRC cells <i>in vitro</i> and <i>in vivo</i>. Furthermore, H19 activated the ?-catenin pathway via acting as a competing endogenous RNA sponge for miR-141 in CRC, while miR-141 significantly inhibited the stemness of CRC cells. <b>Conclusion:</b> CAFs promote the stemness and chemoresistance of CRC by transferring exosomal H19. H19 activated the ?-catenin pathway via acting as a competing endogenous RNA sponge for miR-141, while miR-141 inhibited the stemness of CRC cells. Our findings indicate that H19 expressed by CAFs of the colorectal tumor stroma contributes to tumor development and chemoresistance.
Project description:Colorectal cancer is a global disease with increasing incidence. Mortality is largely attributed to metastatic spread and therefore, a mechanistic dissection of the signals which influence tumor progression is needed. Cancer stroma plays a critical role in tumor proliferation, invasion and chemoresistance. Here, we sought to identify and characterize exosomal microRNAs as mediators of stromal-tumor signaling. <i>In vitro</i>, we demonstrated that fibroblast exosomes are transferred to colorectal cancer cells, with a resultant increase in cellular microRNA levels, impacting proliferation and chemoresistance. To probe this further, exosomal microRNAs were profiled from paired patient-derived normal and cancer-associated fibroblasts, from an ongoing prospective biomarker study. An exosomal cancer-associated fibroblast signature consisting of microRNAs 329, 181a, 199b, 382, 215 and 21 was identified. Of these, miR-21 had highest abundance and was enriched in exosomes. Orthotopic xenografts established with miR-21-overexpressing fibroblasts and CRC cells led to increased liver metastases compared to those established with control fibroblasts. Our data provide a novel stromal exosome signature in colorectal cancer, which has potential for biomarker validation. Furthermore, we confirmed the importance of stromal miR-21 in colorectal cancer progression using an orthotopic model, and propose that exosomes are a vehicle for miR-21 transfer between stromal fibroblasts and cancer cells.
Project description:Colorectal cancer patients often relapse after chemotherapy, owing to the survival of stem or progenitor cells referred to as cancer stem cells (CSCs). Although tumor stromal factors are known to contribute to chemoresistance, it remains not fully understood how CSCs in the hypoxic tumor microenvironment escape the chemotherapy. Here, we report that hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1?) and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs)-secreted TGF-?2 converge to activate the expression of hedgehog transcription factor GLI2 in CSCs, resulting in increased stemness/dedifferentiation and intrinsic resistance to chemotherapy. Genetic or small-molecule inhibitor-based ablation of HIF-1?/TGF-?2-mediated GLI2 signaling effectively reversed the chemoresistance caused by the tumor microenvironment. Importantly, high expression levels of HIF-1?/TGF-?2/GLI2 correlated robustly with the patient relapse following chemotherapy, highlighting a potential biomarker and therapeutic target for chemoresistance in colorectal cancer. Our study thus uncovers a molecular mechanism by which hypoxic colorectal tumor microenvironment promotes cancer cell stemness and resistance to chemotherapy and suggests a potentially targeted treatment approach to mitigating chemoresistance.
Project description:Secreted Wnts play crucial roles in synaptogenesis and synapse maintenance, but endogenous factors promoting synapse elimination in central neurons remain unknown. Here we show that proline-rich 7 (PRR7) induces specific removal of excitatory synapses and acts as a Wnt inhibitor. Remarkably, transmembrane protein PRR7 is activity-dependently released by neurons via exosomes. Exosomal PRR7 is uptaken by neurons through membrane fusion and eliminates excitatory synapses in neighboring neurons. Conversely, PRR7 knockdown in sparse neurons greatly increases excitatory synapse numbers in all surrounding neurons. These non-cell autonomous effects of PRR7 are effectively negated by augmentation or blockade of Wnt signaling. PRR7 exerts its effect by blocking the exosomal secretion of Wnts, activation of GSK3?, and promoting proteasomal degradation of PSD proteins. These data uncover a proximity-dependent, reciprocal mechanism for the regulation of excitatory synapse numbers in local neurons and demonstrate the significance of exosomes in inter-neuronal signaling in the vertebrate brain.
Project description:Colorectal cancer (CRC) patients develop recurrence after chemotherapy owing to the survival of stem cell-like cells referred to as cancer stem-like cells (CSCs). The origin of CSCs is linked to the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process. Currently, it remains poorly understood how EMT programmes enable CSCs residing in the tumour microenvironment to escape the effects of chemotherapy. This study identifies a key molecular pathway that is responsible for the formation of drug-resistant CSC populations. Using a modified yeast-2-hybrid system and 2D gel-based proteomics methods, we show that the E3-ubiquitin ligase FBXW7 directly binds and degrades the EMT-inducing transcription factor ZEB2 in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. Loss of FBXW7 induces an EMT that can be effectively reversed by knockdown of ZEB2. The FBXW7-ZEB2 axis regulates such important cancer cell features, as stemness/dedifferentiation, chemoresistance and cell migration in vitro, ex vivo and in animal models of metastasis. High expression of ZEB2 in cancer tissues defines the reduced ZEB2 expression in the cancer-associated stroma in patients and in murine intestinal organoids, demonstrating a tumour-stromal crosstalk that modulates a niche and EMT activation. Our study thus uncovers a new molecular mechanism, by which the CRC cells display differences in resistance to chemotherapy and metastatic potential.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a small subpopulation of cells within tumors with stem cell property. Increased evidence suggest that CSCs could be responsible for chemoresistance and recurrence in colorectal cancer (CRC). However, a reliable therapeutic target on CSCs is still lacking.<h4>Methods</h4>Here we describe a two-step strategy to generate CSC targets with high selectivity for colon stem cell markers, specific proteins that are interacted with CSC markers were selected and subsequently validated in a survival analysis. TMEM17 protein was found and its biological functions in CRC cells were further examined. Finally, we utilized the Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) to investigate the potential mechanisms of TMEM17 in CRC.<h4>Results</h4>By combining protein-protein interaction (PPI) database and high-throughput gene profiles, network analysis revealed a cluster of colon CSCs related genes. In the cluster, TMEM17 was identified as a novel CSCs related gene. The results of in-vitro functional study demonstrated that TMEM17 depletion can suppress the proliferation of CRC cells and sensitize CRC cells to chemotherapy drugs. Enrichment analysis revealed that the expression of TMEM17 is associated with the magnitude of activation of the Wnt/?-catenin pathway. Further validation in clinical samples demonstrated that the TMEM17 expression was much higher in tumor than normal tissue and was associated with poor survival in CRC patients.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Collectively, our finding unveils the critical role of TMEM17 in CRC and TMEM17 could be a potential effective therapeutic target for tumor recurrence and chemoresistance in the colorectal cancer (CRC).
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Not all breast cancer (BC) patients who receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy achieve a pathologic complete response (pCR), but the reasons for this are unknown. Previous studies have shown that exosomes produced in the tumor microenvironment in response to chemotherapy promote a chemotherapy-resistant phenotype in tumors. However, the role of BC chemotherapy-elicited exosomes in regulating chemoresistance is poorly understood.<h4>Methods</h4>Using commercial kits, serum exosomes were extracted from patients before neoadjuvant chemotherapy, after one cycle of chemotherapy and after four cycles of chemotherapy consisting of doxorubicin (DOX) and paclitaxel (PTX). Their miRNAs were sequenced, and the correlation between the sequencing results and chemotherapy effects was further verified by RT-qPCR using patient serum exosomes. Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) was used to detect chemosensitivity. Stemness was assessed by CD44+/CD24- population analysis and mammosphere formation assays. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments were performed to verify the binding of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) to the promoter of miRNAs.<h4>Results</h4>Here, we provide clinical evidence that chemotherapy-elicited exosomal miR-378a-3p and miR-378d are closely related to the chemotherapy response and that exosomes produced by BC cells after stimulation with DOX or PTX deliver miR-378a-3p and miR-378d to neighboring cells to activate WNT and NOTCH stemness pathways and induce drug resistance by targeting Dickkopf 3 (DKK3) and NUMB. In addition, STAT3, which is enhanced by zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), bound to the promoter regions of miR-378a-3p and miR-378d, thereby increasing their expression in exosomes. More importantly, chemotherapeutic agents combined with the EZH2 inhibitor tazemetostat reversed chemotherapy-elicited exosome-induced drug resistance in a nude mouse tumor xenograft model.<h4>Conclusion</h4>This study revealed a novel mechanism of acquired chemoresistance whereby chemotherapy activates the EZH2/STAT3 axis in BC cells, which then secrete chemotherapy-elicited exosomes enriched in miR-378a-3p and miR-378d. These exosomes are absorbed by chemotherapy-surviving BC cells, leading to activation of the WNT and NOTCH stem cell pathways via the targeting of DKK3 and NUMB and subsequently resulting in drug resistance. Therefore, blocking this adaptive mechanism during chemotherapy may reduce the development of chemotherapy resistance and maximize the therapeutic effect.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play a pivotal role in regulating tumor progression by transferring exosomes to adjacent cells. Our aim was to clarify the role of LINC00659 encapsulated in CAFs-derived exosomes (CAFs-exo) in colorectal cancer (CRC).<h4>Methods</h4>CAFs and normal fibroblasts (NFs) were isolated and cultured. CAFs-exo and NFs-derived exosomes (NFs-exo) were characterized by transmission electron microscope and Western blot. The mRNA level of LINC00659 in CAFs-exo and NFs-exo were measured. Then we analyzed cell proliferation by CCK-8 and clone formation assay, cell migration by cell scratch, and cell invasion by Transwell. Epithelial mesenchymal transformation (EMT) related markers E-cadherin, N-cadherin, Vimentin and Snail-1 expressions were assessed by Western blot. The binding of LINC00659 and miR-342-3p, miR-342-3p and ANXA2 were analyzed by dual-luciferase reporter gene assay.<h4>Results</h4>CAFs and NFs showed a spindle-like morphology. CAFs-exo promoted CRC cell proliferation, migration, invasion and EMT progression. The expression of LINC00659 in CAF-derived exosomes was significantly increased, and fibroblasts could transfer exosomal LINC00659 to CRC cells. We further revealed that transfection of miR-342-3p mimic or sh-ANXA2 could obviously reverse the promotion effect of exosomal LINC00659 on CRC progression. Functional studies reveal that LINC00659 is transferred from CAFs to the cancer cells via exosomes, where it promotes CRC cell proliferation, invasion, migration and EMT progression in vitro. Mechanistically, LINC00659 interacts directly with miR-342-3p to increase ANXA2 expression in CRC cells.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Collected evidence supported that CAFs-derived exosomal LINC00659 promotes CRC cell proliferation, invasion and migration via miR-342-3p/ANXA2axis.
Project description:Exosomal long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are crucial factors that mediate the extracellular communication in tumor microenvironment. DOCK9 antisense RNA2 (DOCK9-AS2) is an exosomal lncRNA which has not been investigated in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). Based on the result of differentially expressed lncRNAs in PTC via bioinformatics databases, we discovered that DOCK9-AS2 was upregulated in PTC, and presented elevation in plasma exosomes of PTC patients. Functionally, DOCK9-AS2 knockdown reduced proliferation, migration, invasion, epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT) and stemness in PTC cells. PTC-CSCs transmitted exosomal DOCK9-AS2 to improve stemness of PTC cells. Mechanistically, DOCK9-AS2 interacted with SP1 to induce catenin beta 1 (CTNNB1) transcription and sponged microRNA-1972 (miR-1972) to upregulate CTNNB1, thereby activating Wnt/?-catenin pathway in PTC cells. In conclusion, PTC-CSCs-derived exosomal lncRNA DOCK9-AS2 activated Wnt/?-catenin pathway to aggravate PTC progression, indicating that DOCK9-AS2 was a potential target for therapies in PTC.