Colon Tumors in Enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis (ETBF)-Colonized Mice Do Not Display a Unique Mutational Signature but Instead Possess Host-Dependent Alterations in the APC Gene

Jawara Allen, Axel Rosendahl Huber, Cayetano Pleguezuelos-Manzano, Jens Puschhof, Shaoguang Wu, Xinqun Wu, Charelle Boot, Aurelia Saftien, Heather M. O’Hagan, Hao Wang, Ruben van Boxtel, Hans Clevers, Cynthia L. Sears

Published: 29 June 2022


Enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis (ETBF) is consistently found at higher frequency in individuals with sporadic and hereditary colorectal cancer (CRC) and induces tumorigenesis in several mouse models of CRC. However, whether specific mutations induced by ETBF lead to colon tumor formation has not been investigated. To determine if ETBF-induced mutations impact the Apc gene, and other tumor suppressors or proto-oncogenes, we performed whole-exome sequencing and whole-genome sequencing on tumors isolated after ETBF and sham colonization of Apcmin/+ and Apcmin/+Msh2fl/flVC mice, as well as whole-genome sequencing of organoids cocultured with ETBF. Our results indicate that ETBF-induced tumor formation results from loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of Apc, unless the mismatch repair system is disrupted, in which case, tumor formation results from new acquisition of protein-truncating mutations in Apc. In contrast to polyketide synthase-positive Escherichia coli (pksE. coli), ETBF does not produce a unique mutational signature; instead, ETBF-induced tumors arise from errors in DNA mismatch repair and homologous recombination DNA damage repair, established pathways of tumor formation in the colon, and the same genetic mechanism accounting for sham tumors in these mouse models. Our analysis informs how this procarcinogenic bacterium may promote tumor formation in individuals with inherited predispositions to CRC, such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).

Full Access Link: Microbiology spectrum