The intestine is maintained by stem cells located at the base of crypts and distinguished by the expression of LGR5. Genetically engineered mouse models have provided a wealth of information about intestinal stem cells, whereas less is known about human intestinal stem cells owing to difficulty detecting and isolating these cells. We established an organoid repository from patient-derived adenomas, adenocarcinomas and normal colon, which we analyzed for variants in 71 colorectal cancer (CRC)-associated genes. Normal and neoplastic colon tissue organoids were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and fluorescent-activated cell sorting for LGR5. LGR5-positive cells were isolated from four adenoma organoid lines and were subjected to RNA sequencing. We found that LGR5 expression in the epithelium and stroma was associated with tumor stage, and by integrating functional experiments with LGR5-sorted cell RNA sequencing data from adenoma and normal organoids, we found correlations between LGR5 and CRC-specific genes, including dickkopf WNT signaling pathway inhibitor 4 (DKK4) and SPARC-related modular calcium binding 2 (SMOC2). Collectively, this work provides resources, methods and new markers to isolate and study stem cells in human tissue homeostasis and carcinogenesis.
Keywords: OLFM4; Organoid; SMOC2; Stem cell; Stroma; Wnt signaling.
© 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.