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PROX1 Promotes Metabolic Adaptation and Fuels Outgrowth of Wnt(high) Metastatic Colon Cancer Cells


Abstract

The Wnt pathway is abnormally activated in the majority of colorectal cancers, and significant knowledge has been gained in understanding its role in tumor initiation. However, the mechanisms of metastatic outgrowth in colorectal cancer remain a major challenge. We report that autophagy-dependent metabolic adaptation and survival of metastatic colorectal cancer cells is regulated by the target of oncogenic Wnt signaling, homeobox transcription factor PROX1, expressed by a subpopulation of colon cancer progenitor/stem cells. We identify direct PROX1 target genes and show that repression of a pro-apoptotic member of the BCL2 family, BCL2L15, is important for survival of PROX1(+) cells under metabolic stress. PROX1 inactivation after the establishment of metastases prevented further growth of lesions. Furthermore, autophagy inhibition efficiently targeted metastatic PROX1(+) cells, suggesting a potential therapeutic approach. These data identify PROX1 as a key regulator of the transcriptional network contributing to metastases outgrowth in colorectal cancer.

Abstract

The Wnt pathway is abnormally activated in the majority of colorectal cancers, and significant knowledge has been gained in understanding its role in tumor initiation. However, the mechanisms of metastatic outgrowth in colorectal cancer remain a major challenge. We report that autophagy-dependent metabolic adaptation and survival of metastatic colorectal cancer cells is regulated by the target of oncogenic Wnt signaling, homeobox transcription factor PROX1, expressed by a subpopulation of colon cancer progenitor/stem cells. We identify direct PROX1 target genes and show that repression of a pro-apoptotic member of the BCL2 family, BCL2L15, is important for survival of PROX1(+) cells under metabolic stress. PROX1 inactivation after the establishment of metastases prevented further growth of lesions. Furthermore, autophagy inhibition efficiently targeted metastatic PROX1(+) cells, suggesting a potential therapeutic approach. These data identify PROX1 as a key regulator of the transcriptional network contributing to metastases outgrowth in colorectal cancer.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Molecular Cancer Research
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Molecular Cancer Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:17 September 2014
Deposited On:30 Sep 2014 15:48
Last Modified:02 Mar 2017 13:42
Publisher:Cell Press (Elsevier)
ISSN:2211-1247
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2014.08.041
PubMed ID:25242332

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