Colorectal cancer cell intrinsic fibroblast activation protein alpha binds to Enolase1 and activates NF-κB pathway to promote metastasis

Yuan, Ziming, et al. “Colorectal Cancer Cell Intrinsic Fibroblast Activation Protein Alpha Binds to Enolase1 and Activates NF-ΚB Pathway to Promote Metastasis.” Cell Death & Disease, no. 6, Springer Science and Business Media LLC, May 2021. Crossref, doi:10.1038/s41419-021-03823-4.


Fibroblast activation protein alpha (FAP) is a marker of cancer-associated fibroblast, which is also expressed in cancer epithelial cells. However, the role of FAP in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells remains to be elucidated. Here we investigate the expression pattern of FAP in CRC tissues and cells to prove that FAP is upregulated in CRC cells. Loss- of and gain-of-function assays identified FAP promotes migration and invasion instead of an effect on cell proliferation. Microarray assays are adopted to identify the different expressed genes after FAP knockdown and gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) is used to exploit the involved signaling pathway. Our works reveal FAP exerts a function dependent on NF-κB signaling pathway and FAP expression is associated with NF-κB signaling pathway in clinical samples. Our work shows FAP is secreted by CRC cells and soluble FAP could promote metastasis. To investigate the mechanism of FAP influencing the NF-κB signaling pathway, LC/MS is performed to identify the proteins interacting with FAP. We find that FAP binds to ENO1 and activates NF-κB signaling pathway dependent on ENO1. Blocking ENO1 could partially reverse the pro-metastatic effect mediated by FAP. We also provide evidences that both FAP and ENO1 are associated with CRC stages, and high levels of FAP and ENO1 predict a poor survival in CRC patients. In summary, our work could provide a novel mechanism of FAP in CRC cells and a potential strategy for treatment of metastatic CRC.