Unveiling role of sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 2 as a brake of epithelial stem cell proliferation and a tumor suppressor in colorectal cancer

Luciana Petti, Giulia Rizzo, Federica Rubbino, Sudharshan Elangovan, Piergiuseppe Colombo, Silvia Restelli, Andrea Piontini, Vincenzo Arena, Michele Carvello, Barbara Romano, Tommaso Cavalleri, Achille Anselmo, Federica Ungaro, Silvia D'Alessio, Antonino Spinelli, Sanja Stifter, Fabio Grizzi, Alessandro Sgambato, Silvio Danese, Luigi LaghiAlberto Malesci, Stefania Vetrano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 2 (S1PR2) mediates pleiotropic functions encompassing cell proliferation, survival, and migration, which become collectively de-regulated in cancer. Information on whether S1PR2 participates in colorectal carcinogenesis/cancer is scanty, and we set out to fill the gap.

METHODS: We screened expression changes of S1PR2 in human CRC and matched normal mucosa specimens [N = 76]. We compared CRC arising in inflammation-driven and genetically engineered models in wild-type (S1PR2+/+) and S1PR2 deficient (S1PR2-/-) mice. We reconstituted S1PR2 expression in RKO cells and assessed their growth in xenografts. Functionally, we mimicked the ablation of S1PR2 in normal mucosa by treating S1PR2+/+ organoids with JTE013 and characterized intestinal epithelial stem cells isolated from S1PR2-/-Lgr5-EGFP- mice.

RESULTS: S1PR2 expression was lost in 33% of CRC; in 55%, it was significantly decreased, only 12% retaining expression comparable to normal mucosa. Both colitis-induced and genetic Apc+/min mouse models of CRC showed a higher incidence in size and number of carcinomas and/or high-grade adenomas, with increased cell proliferation in S1PR2-/- mice compared to S1PR2+/+ controls. Loss of S1PR2 impaired mucosal regeneration, ultimately promoting the expansion of intestinal stem cells. Whereas its overexpression attenuated cell cycle progression, it reduced the phosphorylation of AKT and augmented the levels of PTEN.

CONCLUSIONS: In normal colonic crypts, S1PR2 gains expression along with intestinal epithelial cells differentiation, but not in intestinal stem cells, and contrasts intestinal tumorigenesis by promoting epithelial differentiation, preventing the expansion of stem cells and braking their malignant transformation. Targeting of S1PR2 may be of therapeutic benefit for CRC expressing high Lgr5.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 23 2020

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Unveiling role of sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 2 as a brake of epithelial stem cell proliferation and a tumor suppressor in colorectal cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this