Peter E Hall

Children's National Medical Center, Washington, Washington, D.C., United States

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Publications (4)34.58 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Glioblastomas (GBMs) are lethal cancers that display cellular hierarchies parallel to normal brain. At the apex are GBM stem cells (GSCs), which are relatively resistant to conventional therapy. Interactions with the adjacent perivascular niche are an important driver of malignancy and self-renewal in GSCs. Extracellular matrix (ECM) cues instruct neural stem/progenitor cell-niche interactions, and the objective of our study was to elucidate its composition and contribution to GSC maintenance in the perivascular niche. We interrogated human tumor tissue for immunofluorescence analysis and derived GSCs from tumor tissues for functional studies. Bioinformatics analyses were conducted by mining publicly available databases. We find that laminin ECM proteins are localized to the perivascular GBM niche and inform negative patient prognosis. To identify the source of laminins, we characterized cellular elements within the niche and found that laminin α chains were expressed by nonstem tumor cells and tumor-associated endothelial cells (ECs). RNA interference targeting laminin α2 inhibited GSC growth and self-renewal. In co-culture studies of GSCs and ECs, laminin α2 knockdown in ECs resulted in decreased tumor growth. Our studies highlight the contribution of nonstem tumor cell-derived laminin juxtracrine signaling. As laminin α2 has recently been identified as a molecular marker of aggressive ependymoma, we propose that the brain vascular ECM promotes tumor malignancy through maintenance of the GSC compartment, providing not only a molecular fingerprint but also a possible therapeutic target. ANN NEUROL 2012;72:766-778.
    Annals of Neurology 11/2012; 72(5):766-78. · 11.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During embryogenesis, the neural stem cells (NSC) of the developing cerebral cortex are located in the ventricular zone (VZ) lining the cerebral ventricles. They exhibit apical and basal processes that contact the ventricular surface and the pial basement membrane, respectively. This unique architecture is important for VZ physical integrity and fate determination of NSC daughter cells. In addition, the shorter apical process is critical for interkinetic nuclear migration (INM), which enables VZ cell mitoses at the ventricular surface. Despite their importance, the mechanisms required for NSC adhesion to the ventricle are poorly understood. We have shown previously that one class of candidate adhesion molecules, laminins, are present in the ventricular region and that their integrin receptors are expressed by NSC. However, prior studies only demonstrate a role for their interaction in the attachment of the basal process to the overlying pial basement membrane. Here we use antibody-blocking and genetic experiments to reveal an additional and novel requirement for laminin/integrin interactions in apical process adhesion and NSC regulation. Transient abrogation of integrin binding and signalling using blocking antibodies to specifically target the ventricular region in utero results in abnormal INM and alterations in the orientation of NSC divisions. We found that these defects were also observed in laminin alpha2 deficient mice. More detailed analyses using a multidisciplinary approach to analyse stem cell behaviour by expression of fluorescent transgenes and multiphoton time-lapse imaging revealed that the transient embryonic disruption of laminin/integrin signalling at the VZ surface resulted in apical process detachment from the ventricular surface, dystrophic radial glia fibers, and substantial layering defects in the postnatal neocortex. Collectively, these data reveal novel roles for the laminin/integrin interaction in anchoring embryonic NSCs to the ventricular surface and maintaining the physical integrity of the neocortical niche, with even transient perturbations resulting in long-lasting cortical defects.
    PLoS Biology 09/2009; 7(8):e1000176. · 12.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human neural stem cells (hNSC) have the potential to provide novel cell-based therapies for neurodegenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease. In order to realise this goal, protocols need to be developed that allow for large quantities of hNSC to be cultured efficiently. As such, it is important to identify factors which enhance the growth of hNSC. In vivo, stem cells reside in distinct microenvironments or niches that are responsible for the maintenance of stem cell populations. A common feature of niches is the presence of the extracellular matrix molecule, laminin. Therefore, this study investigated the effect of exogenous laminin on hNSC growth. To measure hNSC growth, we established culture conditions using B27-supplemented medium that enable neurospheres to grow from human neural cells plated at clonal densities. Limiting dilution assays confirmed that neurospheres were derived from single cells at these densities. Laminin was found to increase hNSC numbers as measured by this neurosphere formation. The effect of laminin was to augment the proliferation/survival of the hNSC, rather than promoting the undifferentiated state. In agreement, apoptosis was reduced in dissociated neurospheres by laminin in an integrin beta1-dependent manner. The addition of laminin to the culture medium enhances the growth of hNSC, and may therefore aid their large-scale production.
    BMC Neuroscience 01/2008; 9:71. · 3.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The identification of markers for the isolation of human neural stem cells (hNSCs) is essential for studies of their biology and therapeutic applications. This study investigated expression of the integrin receptor family by hNSCs as potential markers. Selection of alpha6(hi) or beta1(hi) cells by fluorescence-activated cell sorting led to an enrichment of human neural precursors, as shown by both neurosphere forming assays and increased expression of prominin-1, sox2, sox3, nestin, bmi1, and musashi1 in the beta1(hi) population. Cells expressing high levels of beta1 integrin also expressed prominin-1 (CD133), a marker previously used to isolate hNSCs, and selection using integrin beta1(hi) cells or prominin-1(hi) cells was found to be equally effective at enriching for hNSCs from neurospheres. Therefore, integrin subunits alpha6 and beta1 are highly expressed by human neural precursors and represent convenient markers for their prospective isolation.
    Stem Cells 10/2006; 24(9):2078-84. · 7.70 Impact Factor