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Colibactin-producing Escherichia coli induce the formation of invasive carcinomas in a chronic Inflammation-associated mouse model

Abstract : Simple Summary Changes in the composition of the intestinal flora have been reported in patients with colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the world, with an increase in so-called "harmful" bacteria. Among these, Escherichia coli producing colibactin, a toxin that causes DNA damage, has attracted the interest of many research groups. Here, we showed that infection of wild-type mice with a colibactin-producing E. coli (CoPEC) strain, isolated from a patient with colorectal cancer, combined with chronic inflammation induced the formation of invasive colonic tumors, i.e., tumors that spread beyond epithelial layer and grow into surrounding tissues. We also showed that autophagy, a cell defense process, is necessary to inhibit the tumorigenesis induced by CoPEC. Thus, this work highlights the role of CoPEC as a driver of colorectal cancer development, and suggests that targeting autophagy could be a promising strategy to inhibit the protumoral effects of these bacteria. Background: Escherichia coli producing the genotoxin colibactin (CoPEC or colibactin-producing E. coli) abnormally colonize the colonic mucosa of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. We previously showed that deficiency of autophagy in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) enhances CoPEC-induced colorectal carcinogenesis in ApcMin/+ mice. Here, we tested if CoPEC trigger tumorigenesis in a mouse model lacking genetic susceptibility or the use of carcinogen. Methods: Mice with autophagy deficiency in IECs (Atg16l1∆IEC) or wild-type mice (Atg16l1flox/flox) were infected with the CoPEC 11G5 strain or the mutant 11G5∆clbQ incapable of producing colibactin and subjected to 12 cycles of DSS treatment to induce chronic colitis. Mouse colons were used for histological assessment, immunohistochemical and immunoblot analyses for DNA damage marker. Results: 11G5 or 11G5∆clbQ infection increased clinical and histological inflammation scores, and these were further enhanced by IEC-specific autophagy deficiency. 11G5 infection, but not 11G5∆clbQ infection, triggered the formation of invasive carcinomas, and this was further increased by autophagy deficiency. The increase in invasive carcinomas was correlated with enhanced DNA damage and independent of inflammation. Conclusions: CoPEC induce colorectal carcinogenesis in a CRC mouse model lacking genetic susceptibility and carcinogen. This work highlights the role of (i) CoPEC as a driver of CRC development, and (ii) autophagy in inhibiting the carcinogenic properties of CoPEC.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03318625
Contributor : Christine Molé <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, August 10, 2021 - 2:33:27 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 7, 2021 - 3:44:38 PM

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Laurène Salesse, Cécily Lucas, My Hoang, Pierre Sauvanet, Alexandra Rezard, et al.. Colibactin-producing Escherichia coli induce the formation of invasive carcinomas in a chronic Inflammation-associated mouse model. Cancers, MDPI, 2021, 13 (9), pp.1-16. ⟨10.3390/cancers13092060⟩. ⟨hal-03318625⟩

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