mTOR signaling regulates gastric epithelial progenitor homeostasis and gastric tumorigenesis via MEK1-ERKs and BMP-Smad1 pathways

Ke Li, Hongguang Wu, Ao Wang, Jean Charron, Yuji Mishina, Samy L. Habib, Huijuan Liu, Baojie Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

mTOR, the sensor of nutrients and growth factors, has important roles in tissue homeostasis and tumorigenesis. However, how mTOR controls gastric epithelial cell turnover and gastric cancer development, a leading malignancy, remains poorly understood. Here, we provide genetic evidence that mTOR activation promotes proliferation and inhibits differentiation of Lgr5+ gastric epithelial progenitors (GEPs) in gastric homeostasis and tumorigenesis. mTOR signaling increases MEK1 and Smad1 expression and enhances activation of MEK1-ERKs and BMP-Smad1 pathways, respectively, in GEPs and gastric tumors. Mek1 deletion or inhibition rescues hyperproliferation, whereas Bmpr1a ablation or inhibition rescues differentiation defects of Tsc1−/− GEPs. Tsc1 deficiency in Lgr5+ GEPs accelerates gastric tumor initiation and development, which require MEK1-ERKs for hyperplasia and BMP-Smad1 for differentiation suppression. These findings reveal how mTOR signaling controls Lgr5+ GEP homeostasis and cancerization and suggest that ERKs and Smad1 signaling can be safely targeted to substitute mTOR inhibitors in gastric cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109069
JournalCell Reports
Volume35
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 4 2021

Keywords

  • Lgr5
  • MEK1
  • Smad1
  • TSC
  • differentiation
  • gastric cancer
  • gastric epithelial progenitor
  • homeostasis
  • mTOR
  • tumorigenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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