Enhanced SREBP2-driven cholesterol biosynthesis by PKCl/i deficiency in epithelial intestinal cells promotes aggressive serrated tumorigenesis
The metabolic and signaling pathways regulating aggressive mesenchymal colorectal cancer (CRC) initiation and progression through the serrated route are largely unknown. Although relatively well characterized as BRAF mutant cancers, their poor response to current targeted therapy, difficult preneoplastic detection, and challenging endoscopic resection makes the identification of their metabolic requirements a priority. Here we demonstrate that the phosphorylation of SCAP by the atypical PKC (aPKC), PKC/ promotes its degradation and inhibits the processing and activation of SREBP2, the master regulator of cholesterol biosynthesis. We show that the upregulation of SREBP2 and cholesterol by reduced aPKC levels is essential for controlling metaplasia and generating the most aggressive cell subpopulation in serrated tumors in mice and humans. Since these alterations are also detected prior to neoplastic transformation, together with the sensitivity of these tumors to cholesterol metabolism inhibitors, our data indicate that targeting cholesterol biosynthesis is a potential mechanism for serrated chemoprevention.