Cancer-associated fibroblast-derived ROR2 induces WNT/PCP activation and polarized migration in receiving gastric cancer cells

Rogers, S., C. Zhang, V. Anagnostidis, M. Fishel, F. Gielen and S. Scholpp (2022)

Abstract

"Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts in the tumor-stromal environment have been linked to cancer progression in many studies. These fibroblasts provide signaling factors to the tumor cells that promote proliferation, survival, invasion, and metastasis. One signaling pathway influencing tumor cell behavior is the WNT/Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) signaling in gastric cancer. Here, we show that the gastric tumor cell line, AGS, can respond to the PCP ligand WNT5A, however, express a very low level of the bona-fide WNT/PCP receptor, ROR2. At the same time, we find that CAF display long filopodia and had significantly higher levels of ROR2 than normal gastric fibroblasts. By high-resolution imaging, we observe a direct, cytoneme-mediated transfer of a complex containing ROR2 and WNT5A from CAF to the gastric cancer cells. The amount of ROR2 transferred correlated with JNK signaling in receiving cells, showing a direct requirement for receptor transfer. Co-culture of AGS with CAF expressing a dominant-negative form of ROR2 exhibited reduced actin polarization and migration compared to wild-type CAF. Furthermore, induction of migration via paracrine ROR2 transfer was observed in a zebrafish in vivo model. These unexpected findings demonstrate a fresh role in the direct transfer of a Wnt receptor from a signal-producing cell to a receiving cell and explain the mechanism by which gastric cancer cells expressing low levels of ROR2 can respond to a WNT5A-high tumor microenvironment."

 

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Rogers, S., C. Zhang, V. Anagnostidis, M. Fishel, F. Gielen and S. Scholpp (2022). "Cancer-associated fibroblast-derived ROR2 induces WNT/PCP activation and polarized migration in receiving gastric cancer cells." bioRxiv: 2022.2004.2007.487474.

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