Leucine-rich repeat containing G-protein–coupled receptor 5 (LGR5), an intestinal stem cell marker, is known to exhibit tumor suppressor activity in colon cancer, the mechanism of which is not understood. Here we show that R-spondin 1 (RSPO1)/LGR5 directly activates TGFb signaling cooperatively with TGFb type II receptor in colon cancer cells, enhancing TGFb-mediated growth inhibition and stress-induced apoptosis. Knockdown of LGR5 attenuated downstream TGFb signaling and increased cell proliferation, survival, and metastasis in an orthotopic model of colon cancer in vivo. Upon RSPO1 stimulation, LGR5 formed complexes with TGFb receptors. Studies of patient specimens indicate that LGR5 expression was reduced in advanced stages and positively correlated with markers of TGFb activation in colon cancer. Our study uncovers a novel cross-talk between LGR5 and TGFβ signaling in colon cancer and identifies LGR5 as a new modulator of TGFβ signaling able to suppress colon cancer metastasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research