PD-L1 interacts with Frizzled 6 to activate β-catenin and form a positive feedback loop to promote cancer stem cell expansion

Lingchen Fu, Jia Fan, Sudipa Maity, Grant McFadden, Yixin Shi, Wei Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) drive tumor initiation, progression, metastasis, and drug resistance. We report here that programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) is constitutively expressed in cancer cells to maintain and expand CSC through a novel mechanism in addition to promoting cancer cell immune evasion. We discovered that PD-L1 interacts with receptor Frizzled 6 to activate β-catenin signaling and increase β-catenin-targeted gene expression, such as a putative stem cell marker leucine-rich-repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5. Blockage of PD-L1 function, using a specific small hairpin RNA or a specific antibody, inhibits disease progression by reducing the CSC population in both colorectal and breast tumors. Moreover, β-catenin conversely regulates PD-L1 expression through a β-catenin complex binding site in the PD-L1 promoter. Our discoveries reveal that besides assistant tumor cell immune escaping, PD-L1 and β-catenin signaling form a positive feedback loop to promote cancer progression through CSC maintenance and expansion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1100-1113
Number of pages14
JournalOncogene
Volume41
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 18 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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