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Colorectal cancer possesses marked intratumoral heterogeneity. While subclonal interactions between Vogelstein driver mutations have been extensively studied, less is known about competitive or cooperative effects between subclonal populations with other cancer driver mutations. FBXW7 is a cancer driver mutation which is present in close to 17% of colorectal cancer cells. In this study, we generated isogenic FBXW7 mutant cells using CRISPR-Cas9. We identified an upregulation of oxidative phosphorylation and DNA damage in FBXW7 mutant cells, which surprisingly proliferated at a decreased rate compared to wildtype cells. To determine subclonal interactions, wildtype and mutant FBXW7 cells were cocultured using a Transwell system. Wildtype cells cocultured with FBXW7 mutant cells similarly developed DNA damage which was not observed when wildtype cells were co-cultured with other wildtype cells, suggesting that FBXW7 mutant cells were inducing DNA damage in neighbouring wildtype cells. Using mass spectrometry, we identified AKAP8 as being secreted by FBXW7 mutant cells into the coculture media. Furthermore, overexpression of AKAP8 in wildtype cells recapitulated the DNA damage phenotype observed during coculture, while co-culture of wildtype cells with double mutant FBXW7-/-/AKAP8-/- cells abrogated the DNA damage phenotype. Here, we describe a hitherto unknown phenomenon of AKAP8-mediated DNA damage from FBXW7 mutant to neighbouring wildtype cells. Our findings demonstrate the importance of elucidating the local effect of cancer driver mutations between subclonal populations.

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Journal article


Cell Death Discov

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