Tumor-initiating stem cells (TSCs) are critical for drug resistance and immune escape. However, the mutual regulations between TSC and tumor microenvironment (TME) remain unclear. Using DNA-label retaining, single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), and other approaches, we investigated intestinal adenoma in response to chemoradiotherapy (CRT), thus identifying therapy-resistant TSCs (TrTSCs). We find bidirectional crosstalk between TSCs and TME using CellPhoneDB analysis. An intriguing finding is that TSCs shape TME into a landscape that favors TSCs for immunosuppression and propagation. Using adenoma-organoid co-cultures, niche-cell depletion, and lineaging tracing, we characterize a functional role of cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2)-dependent signaling, predominantly occurring between tumor-associated monocytes and macrophages (TAMMs) and TrTSCs. We show that TAMMs promote TrTSC proliferation through prostaglandin E2 (PGE2)-PTGER4(EP4) signaling, which enhances β-catenin activity via AKT phosphorylation. Thus, our study shows that the bidirectional crosstalk between TrTSC and TME results in a pro-tumorigenic and immunosuppressive contexture.
Keywords: C5AR1; CD74; EP4; MIF; Pge2; RPS19; immune barrier; mciroenvironment; niche; resistance; stem cell.
Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.