Background: Lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) is a common type of lung cancer with a high risk of metastasis, but the exact molecular mechanisms of metastasis are not yet understood.
Methods: This study acquired single-cell transcriptomics profiling of 11 distal normal lung tissues, 11 primary LUAD tissues, and 4 metastatic LUAD tissues from the GSE131907 dataset. The lung multicellular ecosystems were characterized at a single-cell resolution, and the potential mechanisms underlying angiogenesis and metastasis of LUAD were explored.
Results: We constructed a global single-cell landscape of 93,610 cells from primary and metastatic LUAD and found that IGF2BP2 was specifically expressed both in a LUAD cell subpopulation (termed as LUAD_IGF2BP2), and an endothelial cell subpopulation (termed as En_IGF2BP2). The LUAD_IGF2BP2 subpopulation progressively formed and dominated the ecology of metastatic LUAD during metastatic evolution. IGF2BP2 was preferentially secreted by exosomes in the LUAD_IGF2BP2 subpopulation, which was absorbed by the En_IGF2BP2 subpopulation in the tumor microenvironment. Subsequently, IGF2BP2 improved the RNA stability of FLT4 through m6A modification, thereby activating the PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, and eventually promoting angiogenesis and metastasis. Analysis of clinical data showed that IGF2BP2 was linked with poor overall survival and relapse-free survival for LUAD patients.
Conclusions: Overall, these findings provide a novel insight into the multicellular ecosystems of primary and metastatic LUAD, and demonstrate that a specific LUAD_IGF2BP2 subpopulation is a key orchestrator promoting angiogenesis and metastasis, with implications for the gene regulatory mechanisms of LUAD metastatic evolution, representing themselves as potential antiangiogenic targets.
Keywords: Angiogenesis; Exosomes; IGF2BP2; Lung adenocarcinoma; Metastasis; N6-methyladenosine; Single-cell RNA sequencing.
© 2023. The Author(s).