Apelin is a well-established mediator of survival and mitogenic signalling through apelin receptor (Aplnr) and have been implicated in various cancers, however little is known regarding Elabela (ELA/APELA) signalling, also mediated by Aplnr, and its role and the role of the conversion of its precursor proELA into mature ELA in cancer are unknown. Here we identify a function of mTORC1 signalling as an essential mediator of ELA that represses kidney tumour cells growth, migration and survival. Moreover, sunitinib and ELA show synergistic effect in repressing tumour growth and angiogenesis in mice. The use of site directed mutagenesis and pharmacologic experiments provide evidence that the alteration of the cleavage site of proELA by Furin induced improved ELA anti-tumorigenic activity. Finally, cohort of tumours and public data sets revealed that ELA is only repressed in the main human kidney cancer subtypes namely clear cell, papillary, and chromophobe renal cell carcinoma. While Aplnr is expressed by various kidney cells, ELA is generally expressed by epithelial cells. Collectively, these results show the tumour-suppressive role of mTORC1 signalling mediated by ELA and establish the potential use of ELA or derivatives in kidney cancers treatment.

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PubMed