Role of Furin in Colon Cancer Stem Cells Malignant Phenotype and Expression of LGR5 and NANOG in KRAS and BRAF-Mutated Colon Tumors

Cancers, 2022.

Jean Descarpentrie, Marcos J. Araúzo-Bravo, Zongsheng He, Alexia François, Álvaro González, Patricia Garcia-Gallastegi, Iker Badiola, Serge Evrard, Simon Pernot, John W. M. Creemers and Abdel-Majid Khatib.

Abstract :

Proprotein convertases or PCs are known to regulate the malignant phenotype of colon cancer cells by different mechanisms, but their effects on cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been less widely investigated. Here, we report that PCs expression is altered in colon CSCs, and the inhibition of their activity reduced colon CSCs growth, survival, and invasion in three-dimensional spheroid cultures. In vivo, repression of PCs activity by the general PC inhibitors α1-PDX, Spn4A, or decanoylRVKR-chloromethylketone (CMK) significantly reduced tumor expression levels of the stem cell markers LGR5 and NANOG that are associated with reduced tumor xenografts. Further analysis revealed that reduced tumor growth mediated by specific silencing of the convertase Furin in KRAS or BRAF mutated-induced colon tumors was associated with reduced expression of LGR5 and NANOG compared to wild-type KRAS and BRAF tumors. Analysis of various calcium regulator molecules revealed that while the calcium-transporting ATPase 4 (ATP2B4) is downregulated in all the Furin-silenced colon cancer cells, the Ca2+-mobilizing P2Y receptors, was specifically repressed in BRAF mutated cells and ORAI1 and CACNA1H in KRAS mutated cells. Taken together, our findings indicate that PCs play an important role in the malignant phenotype of colon CSCs and stem cell markers’ expression and highlight PCs repression, particularly of Furin, to target colon tumors with KRAS or BRAF mutation.