FES Kinase Signaling Promotes Mast Cell Recruitment to Tumours
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FES protein-tyrosine kinase (PTK) activation downstream of the KIT receptor in mast cells (MC) promotes cell polarization and migration towards the KIT ligand Stem cell factor (SCF). A variety of tumours secrete SCF to promote MC recruitment and release of mediators that enhance tumour vascularization and growth. This study investigates whether FES promotes MC migration via regulation of microtubules (MTs), and if FES is required for MC recruitment to the tumour microenvironment. MT binding assays showed that FES has at least two MT binding sites, which likely contribute to the partial co-localization of FES with MTs in polarized bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs). Live cell imaging revealed a significant defect in chemotaxis of FES-deficient BMMCs towards SCF embedded within an agarose drop, which correlated with less MT organization compared to control cells. To extend these results to a tumour model, mouse mammary carcinoma AC2M2 cells were engrafted under the skin and into the mammary fat pads of immune compromised control (nu/nu) or FES-deficient (nu/nu:fes-/-) mice. A drastic reduction in tumour-associated MCs was observed in FES-deficient mice compared to control in both mammary and skin tissue sections. This correlated with a trend towards reduced tumour volumes in FES-deficient mice. These results implicate FES signaling downstream of KIT, in promoting MT reorganization during cell polarization and for chemotaxis of MCs towards tumour-derived SCF. Thus, FES is a potential therapeutic target to limit recruitment of stromal mast cells or macrophages to solid tumours that enhance tumour progression.