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Metastasis accounts for 90% of cancer-related deaths and represents a prominent malignant feature in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), while tumor cell-specific mechanisms and molecules pivotal for the metastatic capacity remain unclear. By analyzing single-cell RNA sequencing data, we found that fatty acid binding protein 7 (FABP7) was specifically up-regulated in tumor cells of metastatic NSCLC patients and might be a prognostic indicator for poor survival. Experimental studies based on NSCLC cell lines showed that FABP7 promoted the metastatic competencies of NSCLC cells in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that FABP7 was important to canonical Wnt signaling activation and competitively inhibited the interaction between β-catenin and components of its cytoplasmic degradation complex, thereby repressing the phosphorylation-dependent ubiquitination and degradation of β-catenin. Our present study identifies FABP7 as a metastatic tumor cell-specific pro-metastatic gene and uncovers a previously unknown regulatory mechanism underlying Wnt hyperactivation via FABP7-impaired cytoplasmic β-catenin degradation, implicating a novel molecule in regulating NSCLC metastasis.


Qiaorui Bai, Xia Yang, Quanfeng Li, Weizhong Chen, Han Tian, Rong Lian, Ximeng Liu, Shuang Wang, Yi Yang. Metastatic Tumor Cell-Specific FABP7 Promotes NSCLC Metastasis via Inhibiting β-Catenin Degradation. Cells. 2022 Feb 25;11(5)

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PMID: 35269427

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