Long-term organoid culture reveals enrichment of organoid-forming epithelial cells in the fimbrial portion of mouse fallopian tube


A recent paradigm shift in ovarian cancer research is the finding that many ovarian cancers may originate from fallopian tube epithelial (FTE) cells. As tissue stem and progenitor cells often serve as cells of origin of cancer, a better understanding of FTE stem/progenitor cells and how they become transformed is essential for early detection and prevention of ovarian cancer. To facilitate study of FTE stem/progenitor cells in model systems, we established an organoid culture system for mouse FTE cells. We find that EPCAM+ mouse FTE cells can be stably cultured long-term under a minimal condition of activated EGF signaling and suppressed TGFbeta signaling. We show that both Notch and Wnt signaling are required for growth of FTE cells in organoids, and further activation of Wnt signaling supports their maturation toward the ciliated cell lineage. Lastly, by analyzing the frequency of organoid-forming cells in different portions of the fallopian tube (FT), we find that the distal portion of the FT, which includes the fimbria, is enriched with organoid-forming FTE stem cells.