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Calcium signaling orchestrates glioblastoma development: Facts and conjunctures

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... The voltage-gated calcium ion channel is responsible for calcium influx. The abnormal T-type calcium ion channel, among the numerous kinds of calcium ion channels, has been linked to GBM cell progression and proliferation [53]. A new study looked at how calcium channel blocker membrane depolarization accelerates programmed glioma cell death by impairing mineral, protein, amino acid, and critical nutrient movement inside cells. ...
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The blood-brain barrier (primary) and the blood-brain tumor barrier (secondary) are the main barriers for Glioblastoma (GBM) treatment options. Brain design is connected to a critical barrier that restricts medicine delivery to a specific brain region, leaving the rest of the brain without therapeutic chemicals. This requires moving to a different treatment strategy to reach effective therapeutic concentration in brain tumor tissue. Due to more accurate controlled release of medication to the affected area, a continual shift from standard treatment to targeted administration of medication to the brain is attracting more attention these days. GBM's therapeutic approach was established utilizing contemporary discoveries in delivering medicines to the brain as smart nanoparticles for focused therapy. Better knowledge of molecular mechanisms involved in brain targeting and receptor-based therapeutic potential can boost the therapy results. Nonetheless, the most promising technology is still under development, and continual attempts to infer the fundamental process involved in medication delivery will assist hasten nanoparticles' translation into clinical application. Furthermore, numerous complex nanoparticles, including multifunctional smart nanoparticles, have been created to overcome such challenges for CNS drug delivery and their prospective application has been clinically demonstrated or is in the trial phase.
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Neural stem cells (NSCs) critical for the continued production of new neurons and glia are sequestered in distinct areas of the brain called stem cell niches. Until recently, only two forebrain sites, the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the anterolateral ventricle and the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the hippocampus, have been recognized adult stem cell niches (Alvarez-Buylla and Lim, 2004; Doetsch et al., 1999a, 1999b; Doetsch, 2003a, 2003b; Lie et al., 2004; Ming and Song, 2005). Nonetheless, the last decade has been witness to a growing literature suggesting that in fact the adult brain contains stem cell niches along the entire extent of the ventricular system. These niches are capable of widespread neurogenesis and gliogenesis, particularly after injury (Barnabé-Heider et al., 2010; Carlén et al., 2009; Decimo et al., 2012; Lin et al., 2015; Lindvall and Kokaia, 2008; Robins et al., 2013) or other inductive stimuli (Bennett et al., 2009; Cunningham et al., 2012; Decimo et al., 2011; Kokoeva et al., 2007, 2005; Lee et al., 2012; Migaud et al., 2010; Pencea et al., 2001b; Sanin et al., 2013; Suh et al., 2007; Sundholm-Peters et al., 2004; Xu et al., 2005; Zhang et al., 2007). This review focuses on the role of these novel and classic brain niches in maintaining adult neurogenesis and gliogenesis in response to normal physiological and injury-related pathological cues. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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We have previously shown that decreased expression of CCAAT/Enhancer binding protein β (C/EBPβ) inhibits the growth of glioblastoma cells and diminishes their transformation capacity and migration. In agreement with this, we showed that C/EBPβ depletion decreases the mRNA levels of different genes involved in metastasis and invasion. Among these, we found S100 calcium binding protein A4 (S100A4) to be almost undetectable in glioblastoma cells deficient in C/EBPβ. Here, we have evaluated the possible role of S100A4 in the observed effects of C/EBPβ in glioblastoma cells and the mechanism through which S100A4 levels are controlled by C/EBPβ. Our results show that C/EBPβ suppression significantly reduced the levels of S100A4 in murine GL261 and human T98G glioblastoma cells. By employing an S100A4-promoter reporter, we observed a significant induction in the transcriptional activation of the S100A4 gene by C/EBPβ. Furthermore, overexpression of S100A4 in C/EBPβ-depleted glioblastoma cells reverses the enhanced migration and motility induced by this transcription factor. Our data also point to a role of S100A4 in glioblastoma cell invasion and suggest that the C/EBPβ gene controls the invasive potential of GL261 and T98G cells through direct regulation of S100A4. Finally, this study indicates a role of C/EBPβ on the maintenance of the stem cell population present in GL261 glioblastoma cells.
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Tumor-initiating cells are a subpopulation in aggressive cancers that exhibit traits shared with stem cells, including the ability to self-renew and differentiate, commonly referred to as stemness. In addition, such cells are resistant to chemo- and radiation therapy posing a therapeutic challenge. To uncover stemness-associated functions in glioma-initiating cells (GICs), transcriptome profiles were compared to neural stem cells (NSCs) and gene ontology analysis identified an enrichment of Ca2+ signaling genes in NSCs and the more stem-like (NSC-proximal) GICs. Functional analysis in a set of different GIC lines regarding sensitivity to disturbed homeostasis using A23187 and Thapsigargin, revealed that NSC-proximal GICs were more sensitive, corroborating the transcriptome data. Furthermore, Ca2+ drug sensitivity was reduced in GICs after differentiation, with most potent effect in the NSC-proximal GIC, supporting a stemness-associated Ca2+ sensitivity. NSCs and the NSC-proximal GIC line expressed a larger number of ion channels permeable to potassium, sodium and Ca2+. Conversely, a higher number of and higher expression levels of Ca2+ binding genes that may buffer Ca2+, were expressed in NSC-distal GICs. In particular, expression of the AMPA glutamate receptor subunit GRIA1, was found to associate with Ca2+ sensitive NSC-proximal GICs, and decreased as GICs differentiated along with reduced Ca2+ drug sensitivity. The correlation between high expression of Ca2+ channels (such as GRIA1) and sensitivity to Ca2+ drugs was confirmed in an additional nine novel GIC lines. Calcium drug sensitivity also correlated with expression of the NSC markers nestin (NES) and FABP7 (BLBP, brain lipid-binding protein) in this extended analysis. In summary, NSC-associated NES+/FABP7+/GRIA1+ GICs were selectively sensitive to disturbances in Ca2+ homeostasis, providing a potential target mechanism for eradication of an immature population of malignant cells.
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Targeting epigenetic pathways is a promising approach for cancer therapy. Here, we report on the unexpected finding that targeting calcium signaling can reverse epigenetic silencing of tumor suppressor genes (TSG). We performed an epigenetic drug screen using FDA-approved libraries to identify agents that reactivate silenced gene expression in colon cancer cells. In this manner, we identified 3 known epigenetic drugs (DNA methylation and histone deacetylase inhibitors) plus 11 other drugs that were sufficient to reactivate a GFP reporter gene under the control of methylated and silenced CpG island promoters. Notably, these agents also induced the expression of endogenous TSG known to be silenced in multiple cancer cell lines. The newly identified drugs, most prominently cardiac glycosides, did not alter DNA methylation locally or histone modifications globally. Instead, all 11 drugs modulated calcium signaling and triggered calcium-calmodulin kinase (CamK) activity, leading to MeCP2 nuclear exclusion. Blocking CamK activity abolished gene reactivation and cancer cell killing by these drugs, demonstrating that triggering calcium fluxes is an essential component of their epigenetic mechanism of action. Collectively, our findings identify calcium signaling as a new pathway that can be targeted to reactivate TSG in cancer.
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The characteristics of a cellular calcium signal (calcium signature) are determined, at least partly, by the expression of a subset of genes encoding proteins involved in calcium entry, calcium uptake and calcium modulation. Our aim in the present work was to characterize the set of genes involved in calcium signal generation that are differentially expressed in normal brain tissues versus brain tumor and/or glioma stem cells. Public datasets were analyzed according to a four step methodology consisting of: 1. detecting the outliers by using principal component analysis of the whole transcriptome; 2. building a calcium toolbox composed of 260 genes involved in the generation and modulation of the calcium signal; 3. analyzing the calcium toolbox transcriptome of different human brain areas and 4. detecting genes from the calcium toolbox preferentially expressed in tumor tissues or tumor cells compared to normal brain tissues. Our approach was validated on normal brain tissue. Tumor sample analysis allowed us to disclose a set of eighteen genes characteristic of glioblastoma tissues or glioma stem cells. Interpreting the set of genes highlighted in the study led us to propose that i) the mechanism of store operated calcium entry is strongly perturbed in cancer cells and tissues, ii) the process of calcium reuptake into mitochondria is more important in cancer cells and tissues than in their normal counterparts and iii) these two mechanisms may be coupled in at least one subgroup of the glioblastoma stem cells.
Article
Astrocytic brain tumours, including glioblastomas, are incurable neoplasms characterized by diffusely infiltrative growth. Here we show that many tumour cells in astrocytomas extend ultra-long membrane protrusions, and use these distinct tumour microtubes as routes for brain invasion, proliferation, and to interconnect over long distances. The resulting network allows multicellular communication through microtube-associated gap junctions. When damage to the network occurred, tumour microtubes were used for repair. Moreover, the microtube-connected astrocytoma cells, but not those remaining unconnected throughout tumour progression, were protected from cell death inflicted by radiotherapy. The neuronal growth-associated protein 43 was important for microtube formation and function, and drove microtube-dependent tumour cell invasion, proliferation, interconnection, and radioresistance. Oligodendroglial brain tumours were deficient in this mechanism. In summary, astrocytomas can develop functional multicellular network structures. Disconnection of astrocytoma cells by targeting their tumour microtubes emerges as a new principle to reduce the treatment resistance of this disease.
Article
In amphibian embryos, our previous work has demonstrated that calcium transients occurring in the dorsal ectoderm at the onset of gastrulation are necessary and sufficient to engage the ectodermal cells into a neural fate by inducing neural specific genes. Some of these genes are direct targets of calcium. Here we search for a direct transcriptional mechanism by which calcium signals are acting. The only known mechanism responsible for a direct action of calcium on gene transcription involves an EF-hand Ca(2+) binding protein which belongs to a group of four proteins (Kcnip1 to 4). Kcnip protein can act in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner as a transcriptional repressor by binding to a specific DNA sequence, the Downstream Regulatory Element (DRE) site. In Xenopus, among the four kcnips, we show that only kcnip1 is timely and spatially present in the presumptive neural territories and is able to bind DRE sites in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner. The loss of function of kcnip1 results in the expansion of the neural plate through an increased proliferation of neural progenitors. Later on, this leads to an impairment in the development of anterior neural structures. We propose that, in the embryo, at the onset of neurogenesis Kcnip1 is the Ca(2+)-dependent transcriptional repressor that controls the size of the neural plate. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: 13th European Symposium on Calcium.
Article
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most lethal forms of cancer in humans, with a median survival of 10 to 12 months. Glioblastoma is highly malignant since the cells are supported by a great number of blood vessels. Although new treatments have been developed by increasing knowledge of molecular nature of the disease, surgical operation remains the standard of care. The TRP (transient receptor potential) superfamily consists of cation-selective channels that have roles in sensory physiology such as thermo- and osmosensation and in several complex diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular, and neuronal diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression levels of TRP channel genes in patients with glioblastoma multiforme and to evaluate the relationship between TRP gene expressions and survival of the patients. Thirty-three patients diagnosed with glioblastoma were enrolled to the study. The expression levels of 21 TRP genes were quantified by using qRT-PCR with dynamic array 48 × 48 chip (BioMark HD System, Fluidigm, South San Francisco, CA, USA). TRPC1, TRPC6, TRPM2, TRPM3, TRPM7, TRPM8, TRPV1, and TRPV2 were found significantly higher in glioblastoma patients. Moreover, there was a significant relationship between the overexpression of TRP genes and the survival of the patients. These results demonstrate for the first time that TRP channels contribute to the progression and survival of the glioblastoma patients.
Article
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and aggressive primary brain tumor in adults with median survival time of 14.6months. A small fraction of cancer stem cells (CSC) initiate and maintain tumors thus driving glioma tumorigenesis and being responsible for resistance to classical chemo- and radio-therapies. It is desirable to identify signaling pathways related to CSC to develop novel therapies to selectively target them. Transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily M, member 7, also known as TRPM7 is a ubiquitous, Ca(2+) and Mg(2+) permeable ion channels that are special in being both an ion channel and a serine/threonine kinase. In studies of glioma cells silenced for TRPM7, we demonstrated that Notch (Notch1, JAG1, Hey2, and Survivin) and STAT3 pathways are down regulated in glioma cells grown in monolayer. Furthermore, phospho-STAT3, Notch target genes and CSC markers (ALDH1 and CD133) were significantly higher in spheroid glioma CSCs when compared with monolayer cultures. The results further show that tyrosine-phosphorylated STAT3 binds and activates the ALDH1 promoters in glioma cells. We found that TRMP7-induced upregulation of ALDH1 expression is associated with increases in ALDH1 activity and is detectable in stem-like cells when expanded as spheroid CSCs. Finally, TRPM7 promotes proliferation, migration and invasion of glioma cells. These demonstrate that TRPM7 activates JAK2/STAT3 and/or Notch signaling pathways and leads to increased cell proliferation and migration. These findings for the first time demonstrates that TRPM7 (1) activates a previously unrecognized STAT3→ALDH1 pathway, and (2) promotes the induction of ALDH1 activity in glioma cells.
Article
The molecular and cellular mechanisms governing cell motility and directed migration in response to the neuropeptide bradykinin are largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that human glioma cells whose migration is guided by bradykinin generate bleb-like protrusions. We found that activation of the B2 receptor leads to a rise in free Ca2+ from internal stores that activate actomyosin contraction and subsequent cytoplasmic flow into protrusions forming membrane blebs. Furthermore Ca2+ activates Ca2+ dependent K+ and Cl− channels, which participate in bleb regulation. Treatment of gliomas with bradykinin in situ increased glioma growth by increasing the speed of cell migration at the periphery of the tumor mass. To test if bleb formation is relevant for bradykinin promoted glioma invasion we blocked glioma migration by blebbistatin a blocker of myosin kinase II, which is necessary for proper bleb retraction. Our findings suggest a pivotal role of bradykinin during glioma invasion by stimulating amoeboid migration of glioma cells.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Article
Cancer involves defects in the mechanisms underlying cell proliferation, death and migration. Calcium ions are central to these phenomena, serving as major signalling agents with spatial localization, magnitude and temporal characteristics of calcium signals ultimately determining cell's fate. Cellular Ca(2+) signalling is determined by the concerted action of a molecular Ca(2+)-handling toolkit which includes: active energy-dependent Ca(2+) transporters, Ca(2+)-permeable ion channels, Ca(2+)-binding and storage proteins, Ca(2+)-dependent effectors. In cancer, because of mutations, aberrant expression, regulation and/or subcellular targeting of Ca(2+)-handling/transport protein(s) normal relationships among extracellular, cytosolic, endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondrial Ca(2+) concentrations or spatio-temporal patterns of Ca(2+) signalling become distorted. This causes deregulation of Ca(2+)-dependent effectors that control signalling pathways determining cell's behaviour in a way to promote pathophysiological cancer hallmarks such as enhanced proliferation, survival and invasion. Despite the progress in our understanding of Ca(2+) homeostasis remodelling in cancer cells as well as in identification of the key Ca(2+)-transport molecules promoting certain malignant phenotypes, there is still a lot of work to be done to transform fundamental findings and concepts into new Ca(2+) transport-targeting tools for cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Article
Since the seminal studies of Otto Warburg in the 1920s it has been widely recognized that cancers grow glycolytically even in the presence of oxygen. This generates an abundance of protons in a gradient across most solid tumors with an acidic core and an alkaline rim. Whether and how this proton gradient may also serve in an autocrine fashion on these tumors is unclear. Here we demonstrate that human glioma cells form spheroids which act as a viable three-dimensional tumor model, forming physiologically relevant extracellular pH (pHe) and cell proliferation gradients. Using fluorescent cell cycle trackers we determined that the rate of cell proliferation is directly dependent on pHe, and that cells adjust their growth rate according to their position within the pH gradient. We further show that glioma cells sense pH via H(+)-sensitive K(+) channels that translate changes in pH into changes in membrane voltage. These channels are tonically active and blocked by acidic pHe, quinine, and ruthenium red. Blockade of this K(+) conductance either by acidic pHe or drug inhibition depolarized both glioma cells and tumor spheroids and prevented them from passing through the hyperpolarization-dependent G1-to-S phase cell cycle checkpoint, thereby inhibiting cell division. In this way, pHe directly determines the proliferative state of glioma cells.
Article
Malignant gliomas are relentless tumors that offer a dismal clinical prognosis. They develop many biological advantages that allow them to grow and survive in the unique environment of the brain. The glutamate transporters system x c− and excitatory amino acid transporters (EAAT) are emerging as key players in the biology and malignancy of these tumors. Gliomas manipulate glutamate transporter expression and function to alter glutamate homeostasis in the brain, which supports their own growth, invasion, and survival. As a consequence, malignant cells are able to quickly destroy and invade surrounding normal brain. Recent findings are painting a larger picture of these transporters in glioma biology, and as such are providing opportunities for clinical intervention for patients. This review will detail the current understanding of glutamate transporters in the biology of malignant gliomas and highlight some of the unique aspects of these tumors that make them so devastating and difficult to treat.
Article
Drosophila endocytosis-defective cells develop tumour overgrowths in the imaginal discs. We have analysed the tumorigenic potential of cells mutant for Rab5, a gene involved in endocytosis. We found that while a compartment entirely made by Rab5 mutant cells can grow indefinitely, clones of Rab5 cells surrounded by normal cells are eliminated by cell competition. However, when a group of about 400 cells are simultaneously made mutant for Rab5, they form an overgrowing tumour: mutant cells in the periphery are eliminated, but those inside survive and continue proliferating because they are beyond the range of cell competition. These results identify group protection as a mechanism to evade the tumour-suppressing function of cell competition in Drosophila. Furthermore, we find that the growth of the tumour depends to a large extent on the presence of apoptosis inside the tumour: cells doubly mutant for Rab5 and the proapoptotic gene dronc do not form overgrowing tumours. These results suggest that the apoptosis caused by cell competition acts as a tumour-stimulating factor, bringing about high levels of Jun N-terminal kinase and subsequently Wg/Dpp signalling and high proliferation levels in the growing tumour. We conclude that under these circumstances cell competition facilitates the progression of the tumour, thus reversing its normal antitumour role.Oncogene advance online publication, 7 October 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2013.407.
Article
The epiblast is the mammalian embryonic tissue that contains the pluripotent stem cells that generate the whole embryo. We have established a method for inducing functional genetic mosaics in the mouse. Using this system, here we show that induction of a mosaic imbalance of Myc expression in the epiblast provokes the expansion of cells with higher Myc levels through the apoptotic elimination of cells with lower levels, without disrupting development. In contrast, homogeneous shifts in Myc levels did not affect epiblast cell viability, indicating that the observed competition results from comparison of relative Myc levels between epiblast cells. During normal development we found that Myc levels are intrinsically heterogeneous among epiblast cells, and that endogenous cell competition refines the epiblast cell population through the elimination of cells with low relative Myc levels. These results show that natural cell competition in the early mammalian embryo contributes to the selection of the epiblast cell pool.
Article
Subsets of mammalian adult stem cells reside in the quiescent state for prolonged periods of time. This state, which is reversible, has long been viewed as dormant and with minimal basal activity. Recent advances in adult stem cell isolation have provided insights into the epigenetic, transcriptional and post-transcriptional control of quiescence and suggest that quiescence is an actively maintained state in which signalling pathways are involved in maintaining a poised state that allows rapid activation. Deciphering the molecular mechanisms regulating adult stem cell quiescence will increase our understanding of tissue regeneration mechanisms and how they are dysregulated in pathological conditions and in ageing.
Article
From the subventricular zone (SVZ), neuronal precursor cells (NPCs), called neuroblasts, migrate through the rostral migratory stream (RMS) to become interneurons in the olfactory bulb (OB). Ion channels regulate neuronal migration during development, yet their role in migration through the adult RMS is unknown. To address this question, we utilized Nestin-CreERT2/R26R-YFP mice to fluorescently label neuroblasts in the adult. Patch-clamp recordings from neuroblasts reveal K+ currents that are sensitive to intracellular Ca2+ levels and blocked by clotrimazole and TRAM-34, inhibitors of intermediate conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (KCa3.1) channels. Immunolabeling and electrophysiology show KCa3.1 expression restricted to neuroblasts in the SVZ and RMS, but absent in OB neurons. Time-lapse confocal microscopy in situ showed inhibiting KCa3.1 prolonged the stationary phase of neuroblasts' saltatory migration, reducing migration speed by over 50%. Both migration and KCa3.1 currents could also be inhibited by blocking Ca2+ influx via transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, which, together with positive immunostaining for transient receptor potential canonical 1 (TRPC1), suggest that TRP channels are an important Ca2+ source modulating KCa3.1 activity. Finally, injecting TRAM-34 into Nestin-CreERT2/R26R-YFP mice significantly reduced the number of neuroblasts that reached the OB, suggesting an important role for KCa3.1 in vivo. These studies describe a previously unrecognized protein in migration of adult NPCs.
Article
Introduction: Cancer is caused by defects in the mechanisms underlying cell proliferation, death and migration. Calcium ions are central to all of these phenomena, serving as major signalling agents with the spatial localisation, magnitude and temporal characteristics of calcium signals ultimately determining cell's fate. The transformation of a normal cell into a malignant derivative is associated with a major rearrangement of Ca(2+) pumps, Na/Ca exchangers and Ca(2+) channels, which leads to enhanced proliferation and invasion under compromised/impaired ability to die. Areas covered: This paper examines the changes in Ca(2+) signalling and the mechanisms that underlie the passage from normal to pathological cell growth and death control. Understanding these changes and identifying the molecular players involved provide new perspectives for cancer treatment. Expert opinion: Despite compelling evidence that the disruption of Ca(2+) homeostasis in cancer cells leads to the promotion of certain malignant phenotypes as well as the identification of key Ca(2+)-transporting molecules whose altered expression and/or function underlies pathological changes, the therapeutic utilisation of these findings for cancer treatment is still at its infancy. However, the rapid development of the field warrants the development of improved molecular Ca(2+) transport-targeting tools for cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Article
A forward genetic screen in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis identified a mutant line (frimousse) with a profound disruption in neural plate development. In embryos with the frimousse mutation, the anteriormost neural plate cells, which are products of an FGF induction at the blastula and gastrula stages, initially express neural plate-specific genes but fail to maintain the induced state and ultimately default to epidermis. The genetic lesion in the frimousse mutant lies within a connexin gene (cx-11) that is transiently expressed in the developing neural plate in a temporal window corresponding to the period of a-lineage neural induction. Using a genetically encoded calcium indicator we observed multiple calcium transients throughout the developing neural plate in wild-type embryos, but not in mutant embryos. A series of treatments at the gastrula and neurula stages that block the calcium transients, including gap junction inhibition and calcium depletion, were also found to disrupt the development of the anterior neural plate in a similar way to the frimousse mutation. The requirement for cx-11 for anterior neural fate points to a crucial role for intercellular communication via gap junctions, probably through mediation of Ca(2+) transients, in Ciona intestinalis neural induction.
Article
Research on stem cells has developed as one of the most promising areas of neurobiology. In the beginning of the 1990s, neurogenesis in the adult brain was indisputably accepted, eliciting great research efforts. Neural stem cells in the adult mammalian brain are located in the "neurogenic" areas of the subventricular and subgranular zones. Nevertheless many reports indicate that they subsist in other regions of the adult brain. Adult neural stem cells have arisen considerable interest since these studies can be useful to develop new methods to replace damaged neurons and treat severe neurological diseases such as neurodegeneration, stroke or spinal cord lesions. In particular, a promising field is aimed at stimulating or trigger a self-repair system in the diseased brain driven by its own stem cell population. Here, we will revise the latest findings on the characterization of active and quiescent adult neural stem cells in the main regions of neurogenesis and the factors necessary to maintain their active and resting states, stimulate migration and homing in diseased areas, hoping to outline the emerging knowledge for the promotion of regeneration in the brain based on endogenous stem cells. © 2012 International Society for Neurochemistry, J. Neurochem. (2012) 10.1111/jnc.12084.
Article
It has been recently suggested that many types of cancer, including glioblastoma (GBM), contain functionally subsets of cells with stem-like properties named "cancer stem cells" (CSCs). These are characterized by chemotherapy resistance and considered one of the key determinants driving tumor relapse. Many studies demonstrated that Glioma stem cells (GSCs) reside in particular tumor niches, that are necessary to support their behavior. A hypoxic microenvironment has been reported to play a crucial role in controlling GSC molecular and phenotypic profile and in promoting the recruitment of vascular and stromal cells in order to sustain tumor growth. Recent advances in the field allow researches to generate models able to recapitulate, at least in part, the extreme heterogeneity found within GBM tumors. These models try to account for the presence of GSCs and more differentiated cells, the influence of different microenvironments enclosed within the mass, heterotypic interactions between GBM and stromal cells and genetic aberrations. Understanding the mechanism of action of the microenvironmental signals and the interplay between different cell types within the tumor mass, open new questions on how GSCs modulate GBM aggressiveness and response to therapy. The definition of these tumor features will allow to setup innovative multimodal therapies able to target GBM cells at multiple levels. Here, we will discuss the major advances in the study of GSC role in GBM and the therapeutic implications resulting from them, thus reporting the latest strategies applied to counteract and overcome GBM intrinsic resistance to therapy for a better management of patients.
Article
Hypoxia is one of the fundamental biological phenomena that are intricately associated with the development and aggressiveness of a variety of solid tumors. Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF) function as a master transcription factor, which regulates hypoxia responsive genes and has been recognized to play critical roles in tumor invasion, metastasis, and chemo-radiation resistance, and contributes to increased cell proliferation, survival, angiogenesis and metastasis. Therefore, tumor hypoxia with deregulated expression of HIF and its biological consequence lead to poor prognosis of patients diagnosed with solid tumors, resulting in higher mortality, suggesting that understanding of the molecular relationship of hypoxia with other cellular features of tumor aggressiveness would be invaluable for developing newer targeted therapy for solid tumors. It has been well recognized that cancer stem cells (CSCs) and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotypic cells are associated with therapeutic resistance and contribute to aggressive tumor growth, invasion, metastasis and believed to be the cause of tumor recurrence. Interestingly, hypoxia and HIF signaling pathway are known to play an important role in the regulation and sustenance of CSCs and EMT phenotype. However, the molecular relationship between HIF signaling pathway with the biology of CSCs and EMT remains unclear although NF-κB, PI3K/Akt/mTOR, Notch, Wnt/β-catenin, and Hedgehog signaling pathways have been recognized as important regulators of CSCs and EMT. In this article, we will discuss the state of our knowledge on the role of HIF-hypoxia signaling pathway and its kinship with CSCs and EMT within the tumor microenvironment. We will also discuss the potential role of hypoxia-induced microRNAs (miRNAs) in tumor development and aggressiveness, and finally discuss the potential effects of nutraceuticals on the biology of CSCs and EMT in the context of tumor hypoxia.
Article
Adult hippocampal neurogenesis plays an important role in brain function and neurological diseases. Adult neural progenitor cell (aNPC) proliferation is a critical first step in hippocampal neurogenesis. However, the mechanisms that modulate aNPC proliferation have not been fully identified. Ample evidence has demonstrated that cell proliferation is dependent on the intracellular Ca(2+) concentration. We hypothesized that store-operated Ca(2+) channels (SOCs), which are ubiquitously expressed in all cell types, participate in aNPC proliferation. We found that store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE) was involved in the proliferation of aNPCs and that 2-APB, Gd(3+) and SKF96365, antagonists of SOCE and canonical transient receptor potential (TRPC), respectively, inhibited the increase in SOCE and aNPC proliferation. We therefore analyzed the expression of TRPCs in aNPCs and showed that TRPC1 is the most significantly upregulated member under proliferative conditions. Interestingly, knockdown of TRPC1 and using an antibody against TRPC1 markedly reduced the degree of SOCE and aNPC proliferation. In parallel, we observed the suppression of aNPC proliferation was found to be associated with cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase. Furthermore, gene expression microarray analysis revealed a selective up- or downregulation of 10 genes in aNPCs following TRPC1 silencing. Knockdown of Orai1 or STIM1 also induced a significant inhibition of SOCE and proliferation in aNPCs, and all three proteins were colocalized in the plasma membrane region of cells. Together, these results indicate that SOCE represents a principal mechanism regulating the proliferation of aNPCs and that TRPC1 is an essential component of this pathway. This discovery may be important in improving adult hippocampal neurogenesis and treating cognitive deficits.
Article
Cellular communication is at the heart of animal development, and guides the specification of cell fates, the movement of cells within and between tissues, and the coordinated arrangement of different body parts. During organ and tissue growth, cell-cell communication plays a critical role in decisions that determine whether cells survive to contribute to the organism. In this review, we discuss recent insights into cell competition, a social cellular phenomenon that selects the fittest cells in a tissue, and as such potentially contributes to the regulation of its growth and final size. The field of cell competition has seen a huge explosion in its study in the last several years, facilitated by the increasingly sophisticated genetic and molecular technology available in Drosophila and driven by its relevance to stem cell biology and human cancer.