Cancer stem cells (CSC) represent a key cellular subpopulation controlling biological features such as cancer progression in all cancer types. By using melanospheres established from human melanoma patients, we compared less differentiated melanosphere-derived CSC to differentiatingmelanosphere-derived cells. Increased lipid uptakewas found inmelanosphere-derived CSC vs. differentiating melanosphere-derived cells, paralleled by strong expression of lipogenic factors Sterol Regulatory Element-Binding Protein-1 (SREBP-1) and Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor-γ(PPAR-γ). An inverse relation between lipid-storing phenotype and autophagy was also found, since microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B-Light Chain 3 (LC3) lipidation is reduced in melanosphere-derived CSC. To investigate upstream autophagy regulators, Phospho-AMP activated Protein Kinase (P-AMPK) and Phospho-mammalian Target of Rapamycin (P-mTOR) were analyzed; lower P-AMPK and higher P-mTOR expression in melanosphere-derived CSC were found, thus explaining, at least in part, their lower autophagic activity. In addition, co-localization of LC3-stained autophagosome spots and perilipin-stained lipid droplets was demonstrated mainly in differentiating melanosphere-derived cells, further supporting the role of autophagy in lipid droplets clearance. The present manuscript demonstrates an inverse relationship between lipid-storing phenotype and melanoma stem cells differentiation, providing novel indications involving autophagy in melanoma stem cells biology.
- Stem cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry