[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this issue of Cell Stem Cell, Zhu et al. (2014) demonstrate that a genetically engineered glioma model displays a functional cellular hierarchy defined by expression of the nuclear orphan receptor Tlx. Targeting cancer stem cells through genetic deletion of TLX promotes cancer stem cell death and differentiation and extends survival.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A histologic characteristic of glioblastoma tumors (GBM) is angiogenesis, which requires endothelial cell (EC) sprouting and migration. This is thought to be facilitated by signals in a specialized microenvironment, the perivascular niche, where glioma stem cells (GSC) reside in proximity to ECs. The goal of this study was to determine whether ECs and GSCs directly interact, the mechanism by which this occurs, and the effect on EC signaling and function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most lethal type of primary brain tumor with florid angiogenesis. GBMs display striking cellular hierarchies containing self-renewing glioma stem cells (GSCs) that are highly tumorigenic. GSCs not only produce elevated levels of VEGF to promote tumor angiogenesis but also contribute to cellular compartments of tumor vessels.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastomas are highly lethal brain tumors containing tumor-propagating glioma stem cells (GSCs). The molecular mechanisms underlying the maintenance of the GSC phenotype are not fully defined. Here we demonstrate that the zinc finger and X-linked transcription factor (ZFX) maintains GSC self-renewal and tumorigenic potential by up-regulating c-Myc expression. ZFX is differentially expressed in GSCs relative to non-stem glioma cells and neural progenitor cells (NPCs). Disrupting ZFX by shRNA reduced c-Myc expression and potently inhibited GSC self-renewal and tumor growth. Ectopic expression of c-Myc to its endogenous level rescued the effects caused by ZFX disruption, supporting that ZFX controls GSC properties through c-Myc. Furthermore, ZFX binds to a specific sequence (GGGCCCCG) on the human c-Myc promoter to up-regulate c-Myc expression. These data demonstrate that ZFX functions as a critical upstream regulator of c-Myc and plays essential roles in the maintenance of the GSC phenotype. This study also supports that c-Myc is a dominant driver linking self-renewal to malignancy. Stem Cells 2014
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most lethal and aggressive type of primary brain malignancy. Failures of the traditional therapies in treating GBMs raise the urgent requirement to develop new approaches with more responsive targets. The phenomenon of the high infiltration of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) into GBMs has been observed for a long time. Regardless of the limited knowledge about TAMs, the high percentage of supportive TAM in GBM tumor mass makes it possible to be a good target for GBM treatment. In this review, we discussed the unique features of TAMs in GBMs, including their origin, the tumor-supportive properties, the secreted cytokines, and the relevant mechanisms. In addition, we tried to interpret the current understandings about the interplay between GBM cancer cells and TAMs. Finally, the translational studies of targeting TAMs were also described.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stem cells reside in niches that regulate the balance between self-renewal and differentiation. The identity of a stem cell is linked with the ability to interact with its niche through adhesion mechanisms. To identify targets that disrupt cancer stem cell (CSC) adhesion, we performed a flow cytometry screen on patient-derived glioblastoma (GBM) cells and identified junctional adhesion molecule A (JAM-A) as a CSC adhesion mechanism essential for self-renewal and tumor growth. JAM-A was dispensable for normal neural stem/progenitor cell (NPC) function, and JAM-A expression was reduced in normal brain versus GBM. Targeting JAM-A compromised the self-renewal of CSCs. JAM-A expression negatively correlated to GBM patient prognosis. Our results demonstrate that GBM-targeting strategies can be identified through screening adhesion receptors and JAM-A represents a mechanism for niche-driven CSC maintenance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identifying genomic alterations in cancer does not guarantee therapeutic benefit. A new study combining DNA and RNA sequencing with functional validation uncovers new genetic driver alterations in glioblastoma with potential for clinical translation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The promyelocytic leukemia (PML) protein, initially discovered as a part of the PML/retinoic acid receptor alpha fusion protein, has been found to be a critical player in oncogenesis and tumor progression. Multiple cellular activities, including DNA repair, alternative lengthening of telomeres, transcriptional control, apoptosis and senescence, are regulated by PML and its featured subcellular structure, the PML nuclear body. In correspondence with its role in many important life processes, PML mediates several complex downstream signaling pathways. The determinant function of PML in tumorigenesis and cancer progression raises the interest in its involvement in cancer stem cells (CSCs), a subpopulation of cancer cells that share properties with stem cells and are critical for tumor propagation. Recently, there are exciting discoveries concerning the requirement of PML in CSC maintenance. Growing evidences strongly suggest a positive role of PML in regulating CSCs in both hematopoietic cancers and solid tumors, whereas the underlying mechanisms may be different and remain elusive. Here we summarize and discuss the PML-mediated signaling pathways in cancers and their potential roles in regulating CSCs.Oncogene advance online publication, 8 April 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2013.111.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastomas (GBMs) are highly vascular and lethal brain tumors that display cellular hierarchies containing self-renewing tumorigenic glioma stem cells (GSCs). Because GSCs often reside in perivascular niches and may undergo mesenchymal differentiation, we interrogated GSC potential to generate vascular pericytes. Here, we show that GSCs give rise to pericytes to support vessel function and tumor growth. In vivo cell lineage tracing with constitutive and lineage-specific fluorescent reporters demonstrated that GSCs generate the majority of vascular pericytes. Selective elimination of GSC-derived pericytes disrupts the neovasculature and potently inhibits tumor growth. Analysis of human GBM specimens showed that most pericytes are derived from neoplastic cells. GSCs are recruited toward endothelial cells via the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis and are induced to become pericytes predominantly by transforming growth factor β. Thus, GSCs contribute to vascular pericytes that may actively remodel perivascular niches. Therapeutic targeting of GSC-derived pericytes may effectively block tumor progression and improve antiangiogenic therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] 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
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Growth factor-mediated proliferation and self-renewal maintain tissue-specific stem cells and are frequently dysregulated in cancers. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) ligands and receptors (PDGFRs) are commonly overexpressed in gliomas and initiate tumors, as proven in genetically engineered models. While PDGFRα alterations inform intertumoral heterogeneity toward a proneural glioblastoma (GBM) subtype, we interrogated the role of PDGFRs in intratumoral GBM heterogeneity. We found that PDGFRα is expressed only in a subset of GBMs, while PDGFRβ is more commonly expressed in tumors but is preferentially expressed by self-renewing tumorigenic GBM stem cells (GSCs). Genetic or pharmacological targeting of PDGFRβ (but not PDGFRα) attenuated GSC self-renewal, survival, tumor growth, and invasion. PDGFRβ inhibition decreased activation of the cancer stem cell signaling node STAT3, while constitutively active STAT3 rescued the loss of GSC self-renewal caused by PDGFRβ targeting. In silico survival analysis demonstrated that PDGFRB informed poor prognosis, while PDGFRA was a positive prognostic factor. Our results may explain mixed clinical responses of anti-PDGFR-based approaches and suggest the need for integration of models of cancer as an organ system into development of cancer therapies.
Genes & development 06/2012; 26(11):1247-62. · 12.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: REST/NRSF (the RE-1 silencing transcription factor or neuron-restrictive silencer factor) was originally identified as a transcriptional repressor of a number of neuronal-specific genes in neural stem cells and non-neuronal cells. REST functions as a master regulator in the maintenance of neural stem cells. During tumorigenesis, REST shows opposing roles in different type of cells. In human epithelial cancers such as colon cancer, REST acts as a tumor suppressor. In contrast, REST plays an oncogenic role in the development of brain tumors and other cancers. Abnormal upregulation of REST has been found in medulloblastoma, neuroblastoma and glioblastoma (GBM). Recent studies in GBMs suggest that REST exerts its oncogenic function by maintaining self-renewal potential of glioma stem cells (GSCs).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastomas display cellular hierarchies containing tumor-propagating glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs). STAT3 is a critical signaling node in GSC maintenance but molecular mechanisms underlying STAT3 activation in GSCs are poorly defined. Here we demonstrate that the bone marrow X-linked (BMX) nonreceptor tyrosine kinase activates STAT3 signaling to maintain self-renewal and tumorigenic potential of GSCs. BMX is differentially expressed in GSCs relative to nonstem cancer cells and neural progenitors. BMX knockdown potently inhibited STAT3 activation, expression of GSC transcription factors, and growth of GSC-derived intracranial tumors. Constitutively active STAT3 rescued the effects of BMX downregulation, supporting that BMX signals through STAT3 in GSCs. These data demonstrate that BMX represents a GSC therapeutic target and reinforces the importance of STAT3 signaling in stem-like cancer phenotypes.
Cancer cell 04/2011; 19(4):498-511. · 25.29 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastomas (GBMs) are highly lethal brain tumours with current therapies limited to palliation due to therapeutic resistance. We previously demonstrated that GBM stem cells (GSCs) display a preferential activation of DNA damage checkpoint and are relatively resistant to radiation. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the preferential checkpoint response in GSCs remain undefined. Here, we show that L1CAM (CD171) regulates DNA damage checkpoint responses and radiosensitivity of GSCs through nuclear translocation of L1CAM intracellular domain (L1-ICD). Targeting L1CAM by RNA interference attenuated DNA damage checkpoint activation and repair, and sensitized GSCs to radiation. L1CAM regulates expression of NBS1, a critical component of the MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 (MRN) complex that activates ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase and early checkpoint response. Ectopic expression of NBS1 in GSCs rescued the decreased checkpoint activation and radioresistance caused by L1CAM knockdown, demonstrating that L1CAM signals through NBS1 to regulate DNA damage checkpoint responses. Mechanistically, nuclear translocation of L1-ICD mediates NBS1 upregulation via c-Myc. These data demonstrate that L1CAM augments DNA damage checkpoint activation and radioresistance of GSCs through L1-ICD-mediated NBS1 upregulation and the enhanced MRN-ATM-Chk2 signalling.
The EMBO Journal 02/2011; 30(5):800-13. · 9.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastomas (GBMs) are the most lethal and common types of primary brain tumors. The hallmark of GBMs is their highly infiltrative nature. The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the aggressive cancer invasion in GBMs are poorly understood. GBM displays remarkable cellular heterogeneity and hierarchy containing self-renewing glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs). Whether GSCs are more invasive than non-stem tumor cells and contribute to the invasive phenotype in GBMs has not been determined. Here we provide experimental evidence supporting that GSCs derived from GBM surgical specimens or xenografts display greater invasive potential in vitro and in vivo than matched non-stem tumor cells. Furthermore, we identified several invasion-associated proteins that were differentially expressed in GSCs relative to non-stem tumor cells. One of such proteins is L1CAM, a cell surface molecule shown to be critical to maintain GSC tumorigenic potential in our previous study. Immunohistochemical staining showed that L1CAM is highly expressed in a population of cancer cells in the invasive fronts of primary GBMs. Collectively, these data demonstrate the invasive nature of GSCs, suggesting that disrupting GSCs through a specific target such as L1CAM may reduce GBM cancer invasion and tumor recurrence.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 02/2011; 406(4):643-8. · 2.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The repressor element 1-silencing transcription factor (REST) functions as a master regulator to maintain neural stem/progenitor cells (NPCs). REST undergoes proteasomal degradation through β-TrCP-mediated ubiquitylation during neuronal differentiation. However, reciprocal mechanisms that stabilize REST in NPCs are undefined. Here we show that the deubiquitylase HAUSP counterbalances REST ubiquitylation and prevents NPC differentiation. HAUSP expression declines concordantly with REST on neuronal differentiation and reciprocally with β-TrCP levels. HAUSP knockdown in NPCs decreases REST and induces differentiation. In contrast, HAUSP overexpression upregulates REST by overriding β-TrCP-mediated ubiquitylation. A consensus site (310-PYSS-313) in human REST is required for HAUSP-mediated REST deubiquitylation. Furthermore, REST overexpression in NPCs rescues the differentiation phenotype induced by HAUSP knockdown. These data demonstrate that HAUSP stabilizes REST through deubiquitylation and antagonizes β-TrCP in regulating REST at the post-translational level. Thus, HAUSP-mediated deubiquitylation represents a critical regulatory mechanism involved in the maintenance of NPCs.