Int J Biol Sci 2016; 12(4):389-396. doi:10.7150/ijbs.13688 This issue
1. Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Shanghai Jiaotong University Affiliated Sixth People's Hospital, Shanghai 200233, China;
2. Institute of Microsurgery on Extremities, Shanghai Jiaotong University Affiliated Sixth People's Hospital, Shanghai 200233, China.
*These authors contribute equally to this work.
The pHs of extracellular fluids (ECFs) in normal tissues are commonly maintained at 7.35 to 7.45. The acidification of the ECF is one of the major characteristics of tumour microenvironment. In this study, we report that decreased extracellular pH promotes the transformation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), termed CAF activation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that GPR68, a proton-sensing G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), is required for the pH-dependent regulation of the differentiation of MSCs into CAFs. We then identify Yes-associated protein 1 (YAP) as a downstream effector of GPR68 for CAF activation. Finally, we show that knockdown of GPR68 in MSCs can prevent the CAF activation under cancer microenvironment. Systemic transplantation of GPR68-silenced MSCs suppresses in-situ tumour growth and prolong life span after cancer graft.
Keywords: pH, YAP, proton-sensing, GPCR, cancer, fibroblast.